Protests denouncing the invasion of Ukraine go on this weekend in Montreal
Protesters gathered at Russian consulate and Place du Canada to denounce invasion
On Sunday protests in solidarity with Ukraine continued in Montreal as the invasion of the country by Russian forces entered its fourth day — a move that has prompted condemnation by many world leaders and a raft of sanctions.
It's also the fourth day in a row that Montrealers have come out to protest in opposition of the invasion, with many gathering at Place du Canada on Sunday afternoon.
"Most people here have family in Ukraine and we need to congregate and stay together in our own community to show support to one another," said Michael Shwec, the president of the Canadian Ukrainian Congress.
"We're calling on all governments of the world to support creating a no fly zone over Ukraine."
Many in attendance at the protest Sunday also attended mass at the Ukrainian Catholic Parish Of The Assumption Of Blessed Virgin Mary in Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie.
In his homily that morning, Reverend Ihor Oshchipko focused on the importance of forgiving even our enemies in times of war.
"It's not easy," he said. "But as Christians, we must do so."
Thirteen-year-old Earoslave Keseleuk attended the mass with his family, and took the time to pray for his grandparents who remain in Ukraine.
"I'm very scared because my family and friends are all in Ukraine, hiding in their houses and wherever they can," he said.
Attacks from Russia escalated on Sunday when missiles launched from Belarus hit an airport in Zhytomyr in northern Ukraine, an adviser to Ukraine's interior minister said. Earlier in the day an oil terminal and gas pipeline were set ablaze.
Ukrainian forces also battled Russian troops on the streets on Kharkiv Sunday, a key northeastern city of 1.4 million not far from the Russian border, while the capital of Kyiv imposed a strict 39-hour curfew in anticipation of a full-scale Russian assault.
Throughout the weekend the chants of "Shame on Putin, shame on Russia!" could also be heard from the Russian consulate office in Montreal.
On Saturday, protesters threw red dye on the snow facing the office to draw attention those who will die as a result of the invasion by Russian soldiers.
Marina Monossova, who was born in Moscow, said she's having a difficult time processing what has been happening over the past few days since the invasion began.
"I have the need to express what's in my heart," she said Saturday outside the consulate. "It's a feeling of rage, of shame, of guilt… It's hard to express."
She moved to Canada after President Vladimir Putin came into power, and never supported his presidency. She never expected Russia would move to invade the country.
"I really believed in the future of my country," she said. "It came by surprise, a horrible surprise."
Yulia Belyaykova, another attendant at the Russian consulate Saturday who was raised in Moscow, said she's ashamed and angry to see what's happened.
"For me we are one piece, one nation," she said, emphasizing Putin's actions don't represent the citizen's of either countries.
"We share the same deep roots," she said.
She's worried that regardless of what sanctions are taken, Russia will not be stopped.
"We're powerless, we're only united in our protest. That's what makes me devastated," she said.
On Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced a delegation would be meeting Russian officials for talks at an unspecified location on the Belarusian border. The Kremlin said talks had started Sunday.
More than 368,000 Ukrainian refugees have crossed into neighbouring countries since the launch of the invasion on Thursday, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi wrote in a recent tweet.
The mayor confirmed to AP that nine civilians in the capital Kyiv had been killed so far, including one child. Ukraine's Interior Ministry said Sunday that 352 civilians have been killed, including 14 children.
With files from Associated Press, Reuters, CBC News, Rowan Kennedy, and Valeria Cori-Manocchio