Ukrainians in Winnipeg rally against Russian captivity, mark grim anniversary

Members of Winnipeg’s Ukrainian community gathered near Portage and Main this weekend to remind people the war in Ukraine is still ongoing.

Saturday marked the two-year anniversary since Russia attacked a theatre in the eastern Ukrainian city of Mariupol, killing more than 1,200 people hiding inside.

Dozens of demonstrators held signs protesting Russian captivity.

The group – known as Ukrainian Resistance Winnipeg – said they organized the rally to bring attention to the treatment of Ukrainians held captive after they were taken by Russian forces from occupied territories in Ukraine.

“it was their country and Russia does not want to return them,” said rally organizer Alina Demchuk. “We can be voices of that people who are in captivity right now.”

The group called on the Canadian government to recognize what they say are gross violations of human rights faced by prisoners in Russian captivity.

Demchuk also said she came to Canada from Ukraine in late 2022, but she had to leave her family behind.

“I’m really, really worried about them,” she said.

But Demchuk said she is grateful for the support she and other newcomers have received since the war began.

“I feel as if we have a really strong Canadian support, especially from Ukrainians in Winnipeg…and a lot of businesses that help us with everything what we need,” she said.

“But also we want to remind people about our reality that war is now. It’s every day and we all want to still go home,” Demchuk added.

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