‘The war is already in Europe’: Thousands of Ukrainians and supporters march through Dublin

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began two years ago to the day

Ukrainians and their supporters marched through Dublin city centre in their thousands on Saturday to mark the second anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The march, organised by charity Ukrainian Action in Ireland, began outside the GPO on O’Connell Street, and ended with speeches and song at Merrion Square, across from Government Buildings.

Polina Maliuzhonok, a 23-year-old journalist from Kyiv and volunteer with the march organisers, said Saturday’s demonstration was, in part, a way to remind Irish people of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

“I’m actually aware time has passed, and people have got used to this war in Ukraine. We want to make people remember that it’s still going on, and it’s still here, still in our country, in Europe in general,” she said, walking towards Westland Row on Saturday afternoon.


Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began two years ago to the day, on February 24th, 2022, the largest attack on a European nation since the second World War. The war has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, and caused widespread destruction in the eastern European nation.

Since the invasion, over 100,000 Ukrainians have resettled in Ireland, in communities right across the country.

In speech delivered to demonstrators at Merrion Square, Larysa Gerasko, the Ukrainian ambassador to Ireland, called on “all democratic nations” to remain steadfast in their support of Ukraine.

“I want to remind to all, that the war is already in Europe, just behind you, just next to your door,” she said. “All democratic nations, we have to stop Russian aggression, and we have to stop Putin.”

Ms Gerasko also called for those in attendance to pressure governments to send more armaments to Ukraine. “The situation in the frontline, in the battlefield, is very difficult, and very serious.

“We need more weapons, we need more arms, we need more ammunition in order to defend ourselves, and to defend you,” she said.

As the crowd marched towards Merrion Square, demonstrators were led in various chants, including “Peace for Ukraine”, “Putin is a killer”, “Thank you Ireland” and “Slava Ukraini”. One Garda source estimated that 5,000 people were in attendance.

Many in the crowd wore Ukrainian flags draped around their shoulders, or traditional floral wreaths.

Inna Shevchenko (37), marching hand-in-hand with her seven-year-old son along the quays, said that she arrived in Ireland about three months after the Russian invasion in February 2022.

“We first didn’t believe it would continue so long, so we stayed in Hungary, near the border,” Ms Shevchenko (37), from Kyiv, said. “Then [after] three months, we came here.”

Ms Shevchenko has settled in Castleknock, West Dublin – but ultimately, with much of her family still in Ukraine, her wish is to return to homeland. “Ireland is beautiful, but it’s my motherland, and I love it,” she said.

“It’s sad because parents are staying there, my brother is staying there ... he might be killed any time, and all of them are in danger all the time, every night,” she said. “It’s difficult, to worry about them. I cannot help.

Rob Mason, from Dunboyne, Co Meath, was crossing the Liffey at Custom House Quay with the march on Saturday afternoon. “Our son died fighting in the International Legion, fighting for Ukraine,” he said.

Mr Mason’s son, Rory Mason (23), was killed on September 28th, 2022 while fighting as a serviceman of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the Kharkiv region.

David Dunne, from Swords, said he was marching in solidarity with the plight of Ukrainians. “Things are really, really desperate in Ukraine. The media attention is not there at the moment. But it’s worse now than it was two years ago,” he said, crossing the Liffey with the march.

Mr Dunne, whose wife is Ukrainian, is chair of Fingal Ukraine Support Group. “At the start of the war, I went over and I took back 30 to my house, 30 people. Sixteen 17 were staying in a three-bedroom house,” he said.

“The support from the Irish people had been overwhelming, so I felt a duty then to start the support group.”

A group of Ukrainian Griffith College students marching behind a banner on City Quay said they were marching on Saturday to “stand with Ukraine”.

“We’re here to support our people, and to show solidarity with those who, unfortunately, were killed in this horrible war,” Martha (19), from Kyiv, said, asking only to be identified by her first name.

Andrew Shamrai (49), from Reni in western Ukraine, arrived in Ireland some months after Russian invasion in February 2022. At first, unable to speak English, he struggled to settle in Ireland, he said.

But after some classes at UCD and Trinity College, Mr Shamrai improved his language skills, and later became an interpreter at Citywest Transit Hub, assisting other Ukrainians arriving in Ireland.

Now he works as a clerical officer at the Department of Justice. “I think I’m a lucky man. I’m happy in Ireland,” he said, approaching Merrion Square.

Given the ongoing conflict, the future is uncertain for Mr Shamrai. “My wife is still in Ukraine, and I’m thinking about bringing her to Ireland,” he said.

“I can’t plan my future for the long term. Just now, I’m here, I’m working, I’m in Ireland.”

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Fiachra Gallagher

Fiachra Gallagher

Fiachra Gallagher is an Irish Times journalist