'Don't watch the news, make it' Hundreds gather outside Senedd for Ukraine rally

People have gathered for a second consecutive day outside the Senedd in Cardiff Bay in solidarity with Ukraine following last week’s invasion ordered by Russian president Vladimir Putin. 

At least 250 people met on Monday, February 28 with speakers including Voice of Ukraine Wales’ Svitlana Phillips and the Welsh Government’s Ukrainian-born Counsel General, Mick Antoniw.

Earlier on Monday, the UK Government announced it was denying access to all Russian flagged, registered, owned, controlled, chartered or operated vessels awaiting access to UK Ports, including those awaiting entry into Wales.

On Sunday, the Football Association of Wales became the latest to announce its teams would refuse to play matches against Russia.

Speaking ahead of the rally, Svitlana Phillips, said: “I would like to urge people to come to the rally tonight at the Senedd. Our main concern, around the world, is that we stand together against what Putin is doing in Ukraine.

“The resistance to what Putin is doing can be seen on the streets of Ukraine, but Putin must also see that we are all pulling together around the world against him.

“In recent days, I have received calls from family saying that tanks on the border are moving through – people are terrified, people are not looking for explanation, they just want to see an end to the invasion.

“People in Ukraine are grateful for all the support from UK. If we stand together, we can prevent the horrible events that might happen. So, I’d like to appeal for people to not watch the news this evening, but to make it.’

Mr Antoniw recently spent a weekend in Kyiv in a 'show of solidarity' with Ukrainians.

Having recently returned from a ‘solidarity trip’ to the country of his birth alongside Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price, Mr Antoniw said: “The war in Ukraine has become a peoples’ war against Russian oppression and for freedom.

“We must ensure a total economic, political and cultural boycott of Russia and from Wales give full support to those refugees who want to come to Wales for safety.

“We must all protest against Russia’s attack on democracy.

“I thank all Welsh people for their support so far, but there is much more to do over the coming dark days ahead. Ukraine will be free.”

On Sunday (February 27), Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford First Minister Mark Drakeford has said the UK will need to "go beyond" its current visa arrangements for those fleeing the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Speaking on Monday, Adam Price echoed those calls.

Mr Price said: “Last week I was in Kyiv, where I heard the harrowing stories of those who have already been living under Putin’s fascist regime.

“Now, he has declared war not just on the right of the Ukrainian nation to exist – but on freedom, democracy and human rights everywhere.

“By gathering tonight, we in Wales will show that we stand in complete solidarity with the people of Ukraine – and against Putin’s war.

“We call upon the UK Government to impose a total economic embargo on Putin’s government including on oil and gas sales, cancel Ukraine’s foreign debt, and provide a visa-waiver and fast-track residency status to all Ukrainians fleeing war.

“Finally, we should signal our intention to bring an indictment against Putin, Lavrov and others for the crime of aggression so that one day they will be held accountable at the Hague’.”