Hundreds gather for 'Stand with Ukraine' rally on College Green in Bristol

Groups came together with placards and banners. Credit: ITV News

Hundreds of people marched on College Green in Bristol as part of a 'Stand with Ukraine' demonstration against the ongoing Russian invasion.

They are calling for the British government to impose more sanctions on Russia.

The crowd shouted chants against Putin and sang Ukrainian songs as they walked towards the city centre. A one minute silence was also held for all those people already killed in the conflict.

Yaroslav Korniyets, who organised the rally, says he was "overwhelmed" by the level of support from the people of Bristol.

He told ITV News he is concerned about his parents Oleksander and Halyna in north Ukraine: "You know, there is that feeling of being useless, of being that far away from your country.

"Even if I wanted to bear arms and go and defend my country I cannot do that because I cannot be there. I cannot travel there now.

"We have seen a lot of support from the UK government, and trust me, all Ukrainians are extremely grateful for that.

"But the sanctions that are currently imposed - they are just not enough to stop this."

Protestors gathered on College Green. Credit: ITV News

Anastasiya Oleksiyenko helped lead the march around College Green. Her parents live in the second-largest city in Ukraine Kharkiv and are currently having to shelter from the bombing.

She said: "I am very concerned they have to hide every time they hear gunshots and bombing. When I was video calling them I could hear it all in the background. It's just terrible."

Another protester who did not one to give her name because she was fearful of any repercussions for her family in Ukraine said: "We never thought Putin would attack the whole country but now he is bombing us and our people. I wish I could do more to help."

The Ukrainian community were joined by hundreds of people from Bristol who say they wanted to show their solidarity with them and send an anti-war message. Many were fearful of how this conflict could escalate.

Further demonstrations are planned for Wednesday 2nd March as the city looks to come together once again.

Russian troops stormed towards the capital Kyiv overnight on Saturday, but were met with heavy resistance and fighting by Ukrainian forces, as the country's president vowed to fight on.

It was a night of explosions and street fighting that sent Kyiv residents seeking shelter underground, but the capital did not fall and Ukrainian officials reported some success in fending off assaults.

Amid the violence, the country’s president President Volodymyr Zelenskyy refused an American offer to evacuate, insisting Saturday that he would stay and fight on.