There’s no denying that the world feels heavy right now – and the majority of us have been shocked, saddened, and angered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
In the wake of the attacks, nearly three million people have now fled Ukraine, and it’s expected that millions more could follow if the fighting spreads. Tens of thousands of others are hiding at home or underground, queuing at the border, or have signed up to join the army and protect their country.
At such an impossibly sad time, it can sometimes feel difficult to hold onto hope. But though this war is showing us some of the very worst of humankind – it’s also showing us some of the best. People around the world are coming together in solidarity with Ukraine in ways both big and small; reminding us that humanity will always prevail and humans will always rise up to help those in need.
Here are just a few of the many different ways that people are coming together to support Ukraine…
1. Thousands of people have joined rallies in countries around the world
Demonstrators have gathered in cities worldwide including Tokyo, New York, Paris, Vancouver, Santiago, St Petersburg, and London.
They carried signs, Ukrainian flags, and sunflowers – which are Ukraine’s national flower – calling for tougher Russian sanctions, an end to the invasion, and peace for Ukraine.
2. People are offering homes to Ukrainian refugees
European countries are offering homes to Ukrainians who have fled the war.
In Berlin, thousands of people queued at Berlin Central Station to meet refugees and offer them a place to stay.
Meanwhile, Poland has taken in more than 1.8m refugees. In one example, CBS News reported that a 75-year-old Polish woman named Barbara gave up her room so a mother and baby could sleep together. New legislation will also allow Ukrainians who have arrived in Poland to legally stay for 18 months.
In the UK, the government has also launched a Homes for Ukraine scheme, which offers £350 a month tax-free to people who open up their homes to Ukrainian refugees. So far, more than 100,000 people have signed up to help. You can find out more about the scheme in our article here.
3. In just two days, the British public raised £85m for Ukraine aid appeal
Two days after the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) – an organisation made up of 15 leading UK aid charities – appealed for people to make cash donations, it was announced that the UK had raised £85m.
In a statement posted to its social media, the DEC said “We’re grateful to everyone who is giving, organising events, and helping to spread the word. Thank you so much for your generosity!”
Following what charity leaders have called an “absolutely incredible” show of support from the UK public, the DEC has urged people to continue donating – reminding them that support for Ukraine is likely to be needed for months and years.
Our article, How to help the people of Ukraine, has plenty of information about ways you can make donations if you’d like to.
4. Ukrainian children are being met with food and toys as they travel to safety
Volunteers across Europe are offering children toys and food as they travel to safety. Among the volunteers is the British Red Cross which is handing out cuddly toys, warm milk, and sandwiches in Lviv.
There have also been multiple reports of remarkable displays of kindness at the Polish border. As well as providing physical supplies such as food, blankets, and nappies – people have also been offering lifts and helping them find places to stay.
Many of these acts of kindness are coming from Polish communities, but local people and businesses from around the world have also joined forces to collect donations and transport them to Ukraine.
One example is the British Yorkshire to Ukraine campaign, organised by the people of Thirsk. They’re currently appealing for donations of supplies such as food, hygiene products, first aid, and clothing – as well as cash donations to help them pay for each van sent to Ukraine. You can find out more about Yorkshire to Ukraine’s efforts and how to support them by visiting their Facebook page.
5. Public figures and an 80-year-old man are among the thousands of Ukrainians who have joined the army
Thousands of Ukrainians have joined the army as volunteers to fight for their country. Among them was an 80–year-old man with a small suitcase containing two t-shirts, a pair of pants, a toothbrush, and some sandwiches, who said he was doing it for his grandkids.
Other volunteers include former Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko; ex-Ukrainian beauty queen, Anastasia Lenna; boxers, Vitali and Vladimir Klitschko, Oleksandr Usyk, and Vasiliy Lomachenko; and Ukrainian MP, Kira Rudik.
President Zelensky has also been praised by people across the globe for his bravery and leadership skills in the face of the Russian invasion. Despite claiming he was the Russian army’s biggest target, he later refused the ticket to safety offered to him by US President Joe Biden, telling the US embassy, “I need ammunition, not a ride.”
Zelensky has stayed in Kyiv to lead the Ukrainian people, encouraged the world to support and protect his country, and visited wounded soldiers in hospitals to award them medals of bravery.
6. In Romania, refugee women were welcomed with flowers on International Women’s Day
On March 8th it was International Women’s Day and Ukrainian refugee women arriving in Romania were greeted by volunteers handing out flowers, before being directed to shelter, food, and medical aid.
In the video above from The Independent, one woman says, “I was so tired and it just made my day.”
7. Approximately 20,000 overseas volunteers have volunteered to fight in the war and defend Ukraine
President Zelensky has set up an international legion for volunteer fighters from abroad – and so far at least 20,000 people from 52 countries have registered interest. Among them are former soldiers, emergency responders, and civilians.
8. A Ukrainian girl was thrown a birthday party at a Romanian refugee camp
Arina from Ukraine recently turned seven at a mobile refugee camp in Siret, Romania. And her mother, along with volunteers and emergency service workers, organised a birthday party.
The small, impromptu event was complete with balloons, a cake, and a party hat. Arina was also surprised with gifts and singing.
9. English football sends messages of support to Ukraine
Football fans, clubs, and players have come together to display touching messages of support for Ukraine over the last few weeks.
Team captains have worn blue and yellow armbands and signs reading ‘You’ll never walk alone’ and ‘Football stands together’ have been displayed on banners, pennants, and TV screens during Premier League games.
Volunteers have also been doing bucket collections at some games, to raise money for victims of the conflict.
10. Western leaders have imposed sanctions on Russia
The US, UK, and EU have imposed a number of different sanctions that are intended to weaken the Russian economy, both in the short and long term, with the aim of bringing an end to the war.
Some sanctions have been imposed on Russian politicians, officials, and oligarchs themselves. For example, President Vladimir Putin has had all of his foreign-held assets frozen in the UK, US, EU, Switzerland, Canada, and Japan.
Additional sanctions have also been placed on Russian companies, banks, and financial services. For instance, the US and UK are banning Russian oil and the EU is ending its reliance on Russian gas. The EU has also approved a ban on transactions with the Russian Central Bank.
If you’d like to offer your support to Ukraine during this tragic time, then there’s plenty of information on how you can do this in our articles; How to help the people of Ukraine and Government to pay £350 a month to Britons hosting Ukrainian refugees.
Though this is an unbelievably difficult time for the Ukrainian people, there’s always strength in numbers – so the more people who can support and stand with them, the better.