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Who Were the Ukrainian Participants in the Rally in Support of Ukraine and What Are Their Stories?

At the rally in support of Ukraine, organised by the Ljubljana-Kyiv Cultural Association, we heard many stories that touched our hearts. All those present were filled with a new wave of optimism because of the strength and the unity of the Ukrainian nation, which knows no borders, and because of its unity in the fight against the occupier, which they have shown many times before – even in the most difficult moments. “Thousands of Slovenians filled the main square in the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana, in order to show support for Ukraine in the fight against Russia. A wonderful display of solidarity,” the Visegrad24 media outlet reported on the rally, and we also noticed a lot of tears streaming down the faces of brave people there.

On Wednesday, a rally in support of Ukraine was held in Ljubljana, which, unlike the one that happened on Tuesday, was in the right colours – in blue and yellow. The Congress Square and Zvezda Park were already full even before 5 p.m., and the rally was attended by many Ukrainians living in Slovenia, and there were also families there who left Ukraine in recent days because of the war – most of them were from Kyiv. Because of their presence at the rally, there was a sense of national consciousness there, which is a strong bond that these people share, but unfortunately, we saw tears streaming down their faces this time, which is understandable, as war is the reason they found themselves in our country.

 The list of speakers at the Congress Square included Ukrainian Ambassador to Slovenia, Mihajlo Brodovič, Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša, Deputy Prime Ministers Zdravko Počivalšek and Matej Tonin, representative of the Ljubljana-Kyiv Cultural Association Jevgenij Gorešnik, and President of the National Council of the Republic of Slovenia, Alojz Kovšca. “We must continue with providing help and solidarity. Let us not repeat the mistakes we made in the case of Sarajevo. Ukraine is also fighting for us,” said Prime Minister Janša.

“I am here because Russia, with its occupation, came to the land of Ukraine, to our nation, which is now fighting for freedom. Unfortunately, I found out that my cousin died today because she could not get the medical help she needed – namely, Kyiv has completely closed down – and she has two children waiting for her at home. I am here because I will never forget this, and I call on everyone to do something against the attacks on our nation,” Neli told our media, talking through tears. Glory to Ukraine!

We also talked to two families, who only came from Kyiv three days ago – bombs started to rain down on their hometown. They told us that they only want to be able to return home as soon as possible, but unfortunately, they do not know when that would be possible. Another young lady, named Marija, confided in us that she came from Kyiv and also emphasised that she did not come here to take advantage of our hospitality. She came to Slovenia with some others because rockets and bombs started falling overnight – and she only wanted to get her child to safety. Of course, she wants to return home as soon as possible; she wants to get back to her work, to her father, husband, and even her cat. When she left home, she did not know exactly where she was going; she only knew that on that same day, 16 children had died in Ukraine and that she had to get her child away from there.

“I am here today to protest Putin’s unbearable, unbelievable aggression against a free and democratic Ukraine. I am against the threat of nuclear weapons, against the Russian threat to Europe and the entire world. I am here for us, for our descendants. I am here for the children, for the poor refugees. And I hope that this war will end as soon as possible – I hope that there will be no more victims,” said the kind-hearted Slovenian Andreja, who was visibly shaken.
Slovenian citizen Blaž was also present at the protest, and he said that he was at the rally because he supports Ukraine, the country’s independence, and condemns Putin and Russia.

“I believe that one of the scariest things that can happen in today’s Europe is a war – one European country attacking another European country – just because there is an autocrat in power, who still thinks Russia is a communist country and that it can do whatever it wants to Europe. That is why I support, absolutely support peace and the Ukrainians,” said Franci Kapler, one of the participants in the rally, and then hugged his wife.

At the end of the rally in support of Ukraine, our cameras also caught a glimpse of Prime Minister Janez Janša, whom the participants of the rally were very excited to see, and the Ukrainians were immensely grateful for his support. Shouts of “Glory to Ukraine” echoed for quite some time after the programme ended.

Sara Bertoncelj

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