Calgary

Hundreds of Calgarians rally at City Hall in support of Ukraine

The latest event yet to show solidarity with Ukraine in the midst of Russia's ongoing invasion was held in Calgary on Sunday with hundreds of people gathering around a stage set up at the City Hall Municipal Plaza.

Event was held at City Hall Municipal Plaza as Russia’s invasion entered 11th day

Organizers of the rally said they have been 'overwhelmed' by the response they've received from the Calgary community. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

The latest event to show solidarity with Ukraine in the midst of Russia's ongoing invasion was held in Calgary on Sunday. 

Hundreds of people gathered in front of a stage set up at the City Hall Municipal Plaza to show their support and listen to speeches and musical performances. 

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek, joined by several of the council members, spoke at the event, condemning the war that she called "horrific and unprovoked."

"Our world is fragile and we must continue to stand together and fight injustices, we cannot sit quietly by, in the face of incivility no matter where these actions are happening," said Gondek. 

Inna Platonova, president of the Alberta chapter of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC-APC), the group that organized the rally, said she has been overwhelmed by the response from the Calgary community.

"It's warmed our hearts during these very difficult times."

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek addressed the crowd on Sunday condemning Russia's invasion of Ukraine. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

Platonova said many Calgarians are not only continuing to donate their time and resources, but are now also offering up their homes for Ukrainian refugees who may soon find themselves in the city. 

"I've literally [been] breaking into pieces. But I'm not the only one feeling that way and despite what we feel here we need to stay strong for people in Ukraine."

Alberta recently announced it would donate over $10 million in aid to Ukraine — including $5 million for non-lethal military equipment. Premier Jason Kenney was set to tour an Edmonton warehouse with relief supplies for Ukraine on Sunday evening.

As of Sunday more than 1.5 million Ukrainians had fled the country as the conflict entered its 11th day, becoming the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War. 

Stephania Romaniuk, who sang at the rally, said she hoped her singing would uplift and inspire people. (Terri Trembath/CBC)

Russian shelling of Ukrainian cities and towns — including Kyiv and Irpin in the country's central region and Mariupol and Volnovakha in the southeast — intensified over the weekend. 

The UN human rights office said at least 364 civilians have been confirmed killed since the invasion, but the true number is expected to be much higher. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to meet with leaders from the United Kingdom and several European countries this week to discuss providing further aid to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Mezzo-soprano Stephania Romaniuk sang both the Canadian and Ukrainian national anthems at the rally in Calgary on Sunday. 

She said that while she's been watching the news to stay on top of developments, she has had to take a step back. 

"While personally it's incredibly difficult, it's nothing compared with what Ukrainians are facing in their own country."

Through singing, Romaniuk said that she hoped to inspire those who attended the rally as best she could. 

"At the worst of times you just remember that you're here to offer a prayer for people to help connect them and uplift them."

With files from Terri Trembath

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