Ukrainians in Australia Prepare to Mark Russian Invasion Anniversary

SYDNEY — Ukrainians and their supporters plan to march through Australia’s biggest city, Sydney, on Thursday to mark the first anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The rallying call for the event is "365 Days Strong."

About 1,000 people are expected to march though the city before holding a candlelit vigil outside the city’s St Mary’s Cathedral.

Rally organizers say the gathering will "honor the heroic resistance of the brave Ukrainian people."

Andrew Mencinsky, vice president of the Ukrainian Council of New South Wales, said the event will provoke many emotions.

"The mood tonight will be solemn," he said. "A lot of displaced Ukrainians have said that they are approaching this anniversary with trepidation. They do not want to relive the trauma that they went through a year ago and this is bringing up painful memories for them. That being said, they are prepared to still march and to face that trauma."

Vigils are also planned Thursday in the Australian cities of Canberra and Melbourne.

Rallies are scheduled in Brisbane and Perth on Friday.

Since the invasion began a year ago, Canberra has imposed sanctions on hundreds of Russian politicians, including President Vladimir Putin, military commanders and businesspeople. They are the most sweeping penalties Australia has ever placed on another country. It has also banned the importation of Russian oil, petroleum, coal and gas.

Since February 2022, Australia has granted visas to almost 10,000 Ukrainian refugees.

Australia has also committed $680,000 and three staff members to support the International Criminal Court investigation into alleged Russian war crimes.

Australia is the largest non-NATO contributor to Kyiv’s war effort, supplying missiles and armored personnel carriers.

In January, French and Australian officials said that several thousand 155 mm artillery shells would be made jointly. French arms supplier Nexter will do the manufacturing, with Australia supplying the gunpowder. The first munitions are expected to be delivered to Ukraine by the end of April.