IN PICTURES: Protests against war in Ukraine spring up across Germany

Groups of protestors gathered across Germany on Thursday in solidarity with Ukraine as the country finds itself under siege from Russia.

IN PICTURES: Protests against war in Ukraine spring up across Germany
People demonstrate in front of the Brandenburg Gate against the Russian attack on Ukraine on Thursday. Photo: dpa | Kay Nietfeld

In Berlin, the Brandenburg gate was lit up in the colours of the Ukrainian flag overnight as a sign of Germany’s support for the nation and its citizens.

Thursday morning saw groups of protestors gather on Pariser Platz, in front of the gate, wrapped in blue-and-yellow flags. The majority of them were Ukrainian, according to news reports, and many were in tears.

Anton Kushch, 35, a Ukrainian software engineer, said he woke up to “a push notification on my phone about war” and had been sent “messages on my phone with all these burning tanks on the roads”.

Protesters at the Brandenburg Gate in Thursday. Photo: dpa | Paul Zinken

“It’s hard to believe, it’s surreal,” he said. “This is just catastrophic for the whole world… But we have what we have, a tyrant sitting there in the Kremlin.”

Student Sofia Avdeeva, 22, from the disputed Donetsk region, described Putin as a “war criminal” and said she hoped “the same thing he is putting people through happens to him and his family”.

Russians also joined the protests, with some holding placards outside the Russian embassy.

Ukrainian protest Berlin

Protesters hold up a Ukrainian flag in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on Thursday. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Paul Zinken

“We want to show that we are against the war,” said Ekaterina Studnitzky, 40, a teacher from Moscow, holding a cardboard Ukraine flag.

“Ukraine was always a very friendly and close country to us. We have a lot of relatives there, a lot of friends. Nobody wants this war,” she said.

“This is just terrible. Ukrainian and Russian people are brothers and sisters,” said Olga Krupacina, 32, a student from Kaliningrad.

READ ALSO: Berlin’s Russian community torn between war fears and loyalty

Protests were also staged in Munich, where demonstrators gathered in front of the Russian consulate in the Maria-Theresia-Straße. A further protest was held in front of the state parliament.

According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, more protests have been registered for the coming days.

Protesters at an anti-war demo in front of the Russian consulate in Munich on Thursday evening. Photo: dpa | Matthias Balk

A sign referencing the film ‘Goodbye Lenin’ is held up at a protest in front of the Russian consulate in Munich on Thursday. Photo: dpa | Matthias Balk

Some 1,500 people attended a demonstration in central Frankfurt. According to the Frankfirter Allgemeine Zeitung, the crowd repeatedly shouted “freedom for Ukraine” and held signs reading ‘Stop Putin’ and ‘how much life is gas worth?’

Protesters hold signs in central Frankfurt on Thursday. Photo: dpa | Hannes Albert

In the northern city-state of Hamburg, around 200 protesters gathered in front of the Russian Consulate General for a solidarity rally organised by the youth wings of the CDU, FDP, SPD and Greens.

“We strongly condemn this action, which is contrary to international law, and stand in solidarity with Ukraine,” the youth organisations said.

“We call on Russia to respect the integrity of European borders and to return to the negotiating table.”

Protesters outside the Russian Consular General

Youth activists hold a demo outside the Russian Consular General in Hamburg. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Jonas Walzberg

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Scholz says Germany to become biggest NATO force in Europe

Germany's investments in defence in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine will transform it into the biggest contributor to NATO in Europe, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Tuesday.

Scholz says Germany to become biggest NATO force in Europe

Alongside the United States, Germany is “certainly making the largest contribution” to NATO, Scholz said in an interview with the ARD broadcaster.

Speaking at the close of a summit of leaders from the Group of Seven rich democracies, Scholz said Germany was in the process of creating “the largest conventional army within the NATO framework in Europe”.

Days after Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Scholz announced a 100-billion-euro ($105-billion) fund to beef up Germany’s military defences and offset decades of chronic underfunding.

READ ALSO: Germany’s Bundestag approves €100 billion fund to beef up defences

He also promised to meet NATO’s target of spending two percent of GDP on defence, answering years of criticism from close allies that Berlin was failing to contribute enough to the alliance.

Russia’s invasion had led to a renewed conviction “that we should spend more money on defence”, Scholz said.

“We will spend an average of around 70 to 80 billion euros a year on defence over the next few years,” he said, meaning “Germany is the country that invests the most in this”.

Scholz’s announcement in February was seen as a major policy shift, upending Germany’s traditionally cautious approach to defence as a result of its post-war guilt.

Germany had steadily reduced the size of its army since the end of the Cold War from around 500,000 at the time of reunification in 1990 to just 200,000.

NATO allies are from Tuesday gathering in Madrid for a summit, where the United States is expected to announce new long-term military deployments across Europe.