- February 25, 2022
Initiative of Solidarity with Ukraine: May Each Stinger Reach Its Target
Russian aggression in Ukraine has caused not only an immediate reaction from Lithuanian politicians but also from ordinary citizens. On Thursday evening (February 24), a rally of thousands took place in Vilnius in solidarity with fighting Ukraine. Actions were also held in other cities of the country.
Participants of the action “Freedom shines” (lit. “Laisvė šviečia”) marched from Gedymin Avenue to Boris Nemtsov square, which is located next to the building of the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Lithuania.
“Mr. Putin, when declaring war on Ukraine, declared it on everything that Lithuanian statehood is based on,” Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė told journalists while thanking the gathered people for their presence and adding that many more people would come to the next actions.
The mayor of Vilnius and Vytautas Landsbergis speak harshly about the Russian regime
The rally was also attended by the mayor of Vilnius, Remigijus Šimašius, who said that Putin would not limit himself to Ukraine only.
“May each Stinger reach its target on the side of the aggressor who crossed the border with Ukraine. Let us not regret our own resources while helping our friends. Because someday, someone will regret the resources to help us. Let us be those who help,” said the mayor of Vilnius.
In turn, Vytautas Landsbergis said that the war could prove disastrous for Russia.
“I am not sure if it is enough for Russia to change a deranged leader now, for the world to avoid a catastrophe. For this, a change of the whole regime is needed. Violence should not rule; otherwise, the whole world will ‘go to hell’ with Russia at the forefront,” said the patriarch of Lithuanian politics.
Rallies all over Lithuania
On that day, solidarity rallies were also held in Kaunas, Klaipeda, Šiauliai, Mažeikiai, Taurogi, Uciana, and other cities. When the crowd of thousands of people manifested nearby, the Lithuanian parliament adopted the resolution “against the aggression of Russia and Belarus in Ukraine.”
“The actions of the Russian Federation have a negative impact not only on the European Union and NATO, especially on their eastern members, but on the whole European security,” reads the document. Lithuanian members of parliament called for everyone to assist Ukraine in all possible ways. The resolution was adopted by acclamation.
Prayer for peace
On the same day, the Archbishop of Vilnius, Gintaras Grušas, called for prayers for peace, Ukraine, and its residents.
“Let us be open. Let us open our hearts to those who suffer. With prayer, with merciful deeds, we can help others, and with God’s help, we can stop hostilities,” said the priest.
Solidarity initiatives also in Poland
On February 24, solidarity initiatives also took place in Poland, and the believers of various churches and denominations prayed for peace. Among others, the hierarchs of the Polish Autocephalous Orthodox Church appealed to the faithful and the clergy to include in their prayers of intent also those for peace in Ukraine. Archbishop Jerzy, the head of the Orthodox Field Ordinariate of the Polish Armed Forces and the Ordinary of the Orthodox Diocese of Wroclaw-Szczecin, called on all clergy, chaplains of the military, and uniformed services, soldiers, officers, employees of the Ordinariate and all the faithful to “pray fervently for peace in Ukraine.”
The Polish Bishops’ Conference condemned Russia’s actions
“In connection with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, on behalf of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, I strongly condemn the actions of Russia and Vladimir Putin, considering them an unacceptable and disgraceful act of barbarism against the independence and sovereignty of an independent state. At the same time, together with the entire Church in Poland, I express my solidarity with all Ukrainians, both in Poland and in Ukraine, assuring them of our closeness, prayer, and readiness to help,” wrote Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki.
Translated by Marta Graban within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.