Landmarks lit, vigils held to mark first anniversary of Ukraine war
PARIS/LONDON (Reuters) - Paris lit up the Eiffel Tower in blue and yellow and people draped in Ukrainian flags gathered at a vigil in London on Thursday, as the world marks one year of war between Ukraine and Russia.
Russia invaded Ukraine by land, air and sea on Feb. 24, 2022, the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War Two. Russia has called its actions "a special military operation," while Ukraine and the West call the attack an unprovoked land grab.
"There will be a life after this war, because Ukraine will win," Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said in a speech before the Eiffel Tower was lit up to show solidarity with Ukraine.
"I think no one will run out of this fierce desire for freedom, for Europe, for democracy that the Ukrainians are showing."
In Brussels, European Union buildings including those of the European Parliament and Commission were similarly lit up in the colours of the Ukrainian flag.
In London, people draped in Ukrainian flags and holding banners - including one that said "Put Putin in the bin" in a reference to Russian President Valdimir Putin - gathered at Trafalgar Square at a vigil to mark the anniversary.
"Tomorrow is the anniversary of the full-scale invasion of Russia into my country, this is why I thought I just can't stay home," said Olena Iliuk, an 18-year-old Ukrainian at the vigil.
Ukraine had success with counter-offensives in late 2022 to seize much of the territory it lost early on, and the war has settled into one of attritional trench warfare and rising losses on both sides. Russia controls around a fifth of Ukraine a year on.
(Writing by Deepa Babington; editing by Diane Craft)