Shropshire Star

People of Shropshire prepare to mark first anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine

Residents in Shropshire are preparing to mark the first anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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A beautiful display of angels to represent the innocent children lost to the Ukraine war was on display at Ludlow Castle grounds in January

The Russian military crossed the border into Ukraine on February 24, 2022 and the occasion will be marked with a gathering in Shrewsbury and a rally and vigil in Church Stretton.

Amanda Jones of Shropshire Supports Refugees said: "Seven of the people who work for the group are from Ukraine and we asked them what they want to do.

"People were conflicted about how to deal with the anniversary but we are not a political organisation so we plan to stand in a big circle holding hands for peace."

The gathering will be held from 10am on Friday at the War Memorial in The Quarry before walking to the community hub at the Riverside Shopping Centre for a coffee morning with, hopefully, some Ukrainian-style cakes.

Ms Jones said it would give a chance for people to show compassion for Ukrainian refugees and to remember all the lives lost.

"It is a depressing time - many people just thought they were coming to the UK for a few months. We are planning a gentle show of solidarity for about half an hour or however long it takes. But it is not a political demonstration."

A more political demonstration is being held in Church Stretton from 10.30am to 12.30pm, with a silent vigil at 11am.

The rally will centre in Church Stretton main car park, across the road from the Coop store.

It is being held in support of a "just peace" and Shropshire's Lord Lieutenant Anna Turner has been invited.

David Oliver, President of United Nations Association Shropshire, said: "365 days of intensive, deadly, destructive and destabilising aggression against the sovereign territory and people of Ukraine by the Putin driven Russian Federation must end.

"The more free world must commit all that is necessary to secure a just peace which gives no ground to the aggressor."

The rally will include a visual display and a survey asking people Should the Russian Federation be suspended from the United Nations.

John Crowe, coordinator of UNA - Shropshire said: "As most people appreciate, this war will end sometime but a just peace must be secured soonest.

"The human costs in so very many lost, wasted lives, bereft families, a ocean of displaced humans, and vast community devastation demands an end to this violent aggression."

Mr Crowe added: "Alongside the enormity of the human costs across Ukraine, the destruction to the pacific 'world order' and 'international normality' stalks all our futures in too may theatres."

UNA - Shropshire includes voluntary members and supporters across Shropshire. Find out more about the organisation here: