Rishi Sunak has led a moving national silence from Downing Street to mark a year of Ukrainian resistance to the Russian invasion.
The prime minister was joined outside number 10 by his wife Akshata Murthy, kyiv’s ambassador to Britain Vadym Prystaiko and dozens of Ukrainian troops being trained by the UK. After the national break, the national anthem of Ukraine was sung.
The tribute came after Boris Johnson lit one of 52 candles, each marking a week of Russia’s war against Ukraine, during a moving prayer service.
The former Prime Minister joined the service at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in London today, the first anniversary. He looked solemn as he participated in the tribute.
Mr. Prystaiko and his wife Inna were also among the attendees, as well as the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who were photographed lighting candles.
Johnson described it as a “powerful” service in a tweet this morning. “We pay tribute to all those who have lost their lives in the year since Putin launched his horrible and illegal invasion,” he wrote.
His message came as King Charles III condemned the “unprovoked large-scale attack” against Ukraine and declared the world was “united.”
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, his wife Akshata Murty, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the UK Vadym Prystaiko and his wife Inna Prystaiko observe a minute’s silence.
Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson lights one of the 52 candles, one for each week of the war.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hung a blue and yellow wreath on the door of number 10.
“As one year has passed since a full-scale war broke out on our continent, I urge everyone to reflect on the courage and bravery of our Ukrainian friends who, every hour since then, have heroically fought for their country,” he said.
“I am proud that the UK has stood shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine during this horrible conflict.
“As I stand with the brave Ukrainian soldiers outside Downing Street today, my thoughts are with all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend freedom and bring peace back to Europe.”
King Charles said in his message: “A year has passed in which the people of Ukraine have suffered unimaginably from a large-scale unprovoked attack on their nation.” They have shown truly remarkable courage and resilience in the face of such a human tragedy.
“The world has watched in horror at all the unnecessary suffering inflicted on Ukrainians, many of whom I have had the great pleasure of meeting here in the UK, and indeed across the globe, from Romania to Canada.
“Earlier this month I met with President Zelensky at Buckingham Palace to express my personal support for the people of Ukraine. It is heartening that the UK, together with its allies, are doing everything they can to help at this very difficult time.
“Therefore, I can only hope that the outpouring of solidarity from around the world will bring not only practical help, but also the strength of the knowledge that, together, we stand together.”
A minute’s silence outside Downing Street: The Prime Minister joined outside Number 10 by his wife Akshata Murthy, Kiev’s ambassador to Britain Vadym Prystaiko and dozens of Ukrainian troops being trained by the Kingdom United.
Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murthy watch the Ukrainian Ambassador to the UK Vadym Prystaiko and his wife Inna Prystaiko pause
Rishi Sunak has led a poignant national silence from Downing Street. In the photo, here with his wife Akshata Murthy.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan also lights one of the candles during the prayer service in London.
An ecumenical prayer service at the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in London
Ukraine’s ambassador to Great Britain Vadym Prystaiko (R) and his wife Inna Prystaiko (L)
Boris Johnson described the service as ‘powerful’ in a tweet this morning
A woman wipes away tears during a prayer service today, the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“We pay tribute to all those who have lost their lives in the year since Putin launched his horrible and illegal invasion,” Johnson said.
A woman praying during the service as many moving tributes
Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson (right) speaks with London Mayor Sadiq Khan (left)
Children from St Mary’s Ukrainian School attended the service.
Johnson, who was prime minister when the war began and when few believed Ukraine could resist Russia, has become a strong advocate of sending fighter jets to the Ukrainians.
“Now is the time to give President Zelensky the tools Ukrainians need to finish the job,” he said.
“The last year has taught us that sooner or later the West gives Ukrainians what they need.
And if that is the choice, sooner or later, let’s do it earlier, for the good of Ukraine and the world.
“A quick Ukrainian victory is the humane, compassionate and economically sensible outcome.”
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer said the country’s support “is as steadfast and unrelenting today as it was on that dark day a year ago.”
‘As we mark this solemn anniversary and look to the months ahead, we must do the same. Regardless of the other political disagreements we may have, we are in step with the Government on this issue,” he said.
‘No one should have to face the difficulties and losses that the Ukrainian people have suffered over the past year.
‘Their fight for democracy, liberty and liberty in the face of tyranny is also our fight. By supporting our NATO allies, we will ensure Putin’s defeat and Ukraine’s victory.”
King Carlos III condemned the ‘unprovoked large-scale attack’ against Ukraine and declared that the world was ‘united’
Ukraine’s president vowed to push for victory in 2023 as he and other Ukrainians marked the grim one-year anniversary of the life-changing Russian invasion.
At the dawn of a day of commemorations and challenges, President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted that Ukrainians had proven “invincible” in what he called “a year of pain, sadness, faith and unity.”
‘We know that 2023 will be the year of our victory!’ the tweet said.
In a defiant video speech, Zelensky recalled the terror unleashed a year ago by the Russian assault, which sparked Europe’s biggest and deadliest war since World War II.
He said that February 24, 2022, the date of the Russian invasion, was “the longest day of our lives.”
‘We survived the first day of the full-scale war. We didn’t know what tomorrow would bring, but we clearly understood that for every tomorrow, you need to fight. And we fight,” he said.
One year on, the casualty figures are dire on both sides, with Western estimates suggesting hundreds of thousands have been killed or injured.
The economic and diplomatic repercussions have spread throughout the world.