Bayswater street renamed Kyiv Road as London marks first anniversary of Russian invasion of Ukraine

Leader of Westminster Council Adam Hug (left) and Ukrainian Ambassador, Vadym Prystaiko and his wife Inna as the newly renamed Kyiv Road.
Leader of Westminster Council Adam Hug (left) and Ukrainian Ambassador, Vadym Prystaiko and his wife Inna as the newly renamed Kyiv Road. Credit: AP

London fell silent on Friday to mark the one year anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak led a national minute’s silence at 11am from the capital to mark the anniversary.

The minute's silence is part of a series of events in London to pay tribute to the people of Ukraine.

On Friday morning Sadiq Khan told a commemorative service at the Ukrainian Catholic Church, that “London stands with you”.

Sadiq Khan lights one of 52 candles - one for each week of the war - during a prayer service at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral. Credit: PA

Mr Khan told those gathered that Russia must pay for its crimes and aggression, the international community could have acted quicker to help and that Ukraine’s “valour inspired the world”.

He said: “One year ago, Ukraine was threatened by tyranny. The future of your nation was uncertain.

“Your borders were breached and many of your cities encircled.

“It looked like all hope was lost, but then something remarkable happened – Ukrainians didn’t roll over, you resisted.

“Orthodox Christians, Jews, Catholics, Muslims and men and women of other faiths all stood together, united under one flag and by one unshakeable belief…

“A belief that all Ukrainians have the right to choose their own destiny.

“Your valour inspired the world.”

Children from St Mary's Ukrainian School at the church service. Credit: PA

Mr Khan has announced funding for up to 600 new homes in London for Ukrainian and Afghan refugees on the anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Mayor of London said the accommodation provided by the Refugee Housing Programme (RHP) would support Ukrainians and Afghans who have fled conflict and are homeless, at risk of homelessness or living in unsuitable temporary accommodation.

According to the mayor’s office, there are 16,000 Ukrainian refugees living in London under the Homes for Ukraine scheme and hundreds of Afghans accommodated in Home Office bridging accommodation sites in the capital.

Meanwhile, in honour of Ukraine's fight against Russian aggressors, a West London street has been renamed Kyiv Road.

The new address covers a small section of Bayswater Road, running from Palace Court to Ossington Street, and is a short distance from the Russian embassy.

Rishi Sunak led a nationwide minute's silence at 11am from Downing Street. Credit: PA
London mayor Sadiq Khan is embraced by Bishop Kenneth Nowakowski following his speech Credit: Yui Mok/PA

Vadym Prystaiko, Ukraine’s ambassador to the UK, said: “Kyiv Road is a symbol of solidarity with the Ukrainian people and a tribute to their unwavering spirit in the face of aggression."

Later, Marble Arch will be lit up in Ukraine’s yellow and blue colours, and the Ukrainian flag will fly above Westminster City Hall.

The National Theatre, Oxo Tower and Southbank Centre will also be lit up in Ukrainian colours, and the capital's world-famous screens at both Piccadilly Circus and Outernet will send a message of solidarity to all those impacted by the invasion of Ukraine.

They will join other cities around the world lighting up landmarks, including the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Torre Monumental in Buenos Aires and others across Warsaw, Madrid, Brussels, Prague, Budapest and more.

The change of street name is supported by Bayswater councillors, and was paid for from existing ward budgets, meaning there is no additional cost to residents.

Residents will also not need to change their addresses if they live within the renamed area.

The crowd in Trafalgar Square Credit: James Manning/PA

On Thursday evening, hundreds gathered in Trafalgar Square to mark the anniversary.

The vigil, jointly co-ordinated by the US and Ukraine embassies, saw not only Mr Prystaiko take the stage but also Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, US ambassador Jane Hartley and academy award-winning actress Dame Helen Mirren, in between Ukrainian musical performances.

Dame Helen recited a Ukrainian poem at a vigil marking the one-year anniversary of the invasion in Trafalgar Square, central London.

She read out the English translation of Take Only What Is Most Important by Serhiy Zhadan.

The poem includes the line: “You will not return and friends will never come back.”

At the poem’s conclusion, Ms Mirren said: “But I think you will be back.”

She added: “Peace for Ukraine, democracy for Ukraine and freedom for Ukraine.”

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