Calgarians gather to mark one year since invasion of Ukraine

Hundreds of people packed into Calgary City Hall for a vigil Friday, marking one year since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

On Friday Calgary City Hall was filled with blue and yellow Ukrainian flags

a group of people hold signs and wear blue and yellow flags
People gathered at Calgary City Hall Friday to mark one year since the start of the war in Ukraine. (Jo Horwood/CBC)

Hundreds of people packed into Calgary City Hall for a vigil Friday, marking one year since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Politicians from all levels of government attended the event where people carried yellow and blue flags and sang songs. The Calgary event was one of many rallies in support of Ukraine around the world. 

"This war was unprovoked, it was unfounded, and it is immoral, it cannot be justified in any way," Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek said to the group. 

"This war has cost people their lives, their families, their livelihoods, their homes. It has cost them everything." 

Stephania Romaniuk organized the vigil for the Ukrainian Canadian Congress - Calgary Branch and said the war has brought out the best and worst in people. 

a close up of a woman holding a candle
A person holds a candle at a vigil in Calgary Friday. (Jo Horwood/CBC)

"I've also seen such strength and resilience from people who are in danger every day, and I think that the message that I've received over the past year is that all of us have good inside of us." 

Over the past year, more than 20,000 Ukrainians have arrived in Alberta. Romaniuk said she's grateful to the Canadians who have opened their homes to people who are fleeing war. 

"I'm not going to say it's easy to accommodate everyone, to help them find a place to live, to help ensure that they have safety and security, that they have means of providing for their families," she said. 

"But this has been a godsend to have this safe haven for them." 

Olya Glamazda, 17, said most of her family is still in Ukraine. She said she's grateful for the people standing in solidarity with the country. 

a woman wearing a black shirt stands in front of a stage with people gathered around it
Stephania Romaniuk is the vigil organizer for the Ukrainian Canadian Congress - Calgary Branch, an event which marks one year since Russia invaded Ukraine. (Jo Horwood/CBC)

"It's important to remember that Canada's support matters, that the support of the world matters, that we recognize it, we see it, and we feel it, and we won't forget," Glamazda said. 

On Friday the Alberta government announced more money to help Ukranians who have fled to Alberta – $27 million in the upcoming budget is set to go toward language and housing programs over the next three years.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told more than 1,000 people at a rally in downtown Toronto on Friday night that Canada will support Ukraine "as long as it takes, as much as it takes" as Russia continues to wage war against the country.

This week the federal government said it will send another four tanks to Ukraine to support the country in its war against Russia. 

With files from Jo Horwood, Muriel Draaisma, Richard Raycraft