Bishop Peter Stastiuk from Melbourne’s Ukranian Catholic Church was among those who took to the stage yesterday as hundreds of protesters rallied in Melbourne’s CBD to voice their rejection of Russian military intervention in Ukraine, reports the Herald-Sun.
The demonstrators, some in traditional Ukrainian dress, marched up Swanston St from Alexandra Gardens to City Square about 6pm, brandishing flags and signs reading 'peace and democracy,' 'Russia butt out of Ukraine' and 'stop Putin your hands on Ukraine.'
At City Square, they paid tribute to protesters killed in the carnage in the eastern European nation by raising their photos and singing a funeral hymn and heard speeches from esteemed Ukrainians and Russians.
Russian President Vladamir Putin approved the deployment of 20,000 troops to Crimea this week, sparking fears of a war between the nations and condemnation from a number of world leaders, including Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
Australian Federation of Ukranian Organisations deputy chair Orysia Stefyn said about 500 people — from Melbourne’s Ukranian, Russian and Polish communities, as well as Australians concerned about the situation overseas — attended last night’s rally.