Verona took to the streets “to keep alive the message that the war is there; it continues to destroy and kill,” ten years after the conflict in Ukraine broke out and two years after Russia invaded the country. “Because we need to remember that Ukraine is still under attack a short distance from here.” It was for this reason that protesters assembled in Piazza Bra last Sunday to mark two significant milestones under the banner “Verona together with Ukraine: peace, justice, and freedom.”

Malve di Ucraina, the event’s organizer, pulled together a large number of people for an afternoon of traditional music, youth performances, and times of collective prayer. Among those present were Ukrainian, Italian, Romanian, and political personalities, as well as members of the Veronese immigrant pastoral centre. “Victory for Peace,” the initiative’s slogan, highlights the fact that “only the victory of Ukraine and the defeat of the Russian Federation can guarantee stability and security in Europe in the decades to come.” The initiative is a component of a bigger national project.

“We wanted to update and clarify the event’s motto because we want to honour the tremendous support that the people of Verona have provided, both personally and through institutions, but especially from the third sector, and we want to express our gratitude to everyone who has helped us during this trying time,” the organizers go on.

Verona’s weight in the war in Ukraine

Roman Hoydan, vice president of Maltese Ukraine, emphasizes, “We take to the streets to call for peace, but we also want to remember the important role that the city of Verona has played in the last two years. We have successfully raised over 900,000 euros to pay for ambulances and medication. From the beginning, Verona businesses, groups, and organizations have supported us. The pharmaceutical bank was one of them, donating 10,598 kg of medicines valued over one million euros.”

“And this is just a small part of the overall intangible yet vital assistance. We started a project in December 2022 that enables us to assist hospitals that are impacted. To date, we have helped 122 hospitals by donating 262 lifesaving ventilators, which have an approximate value of 11 million euros. Without the volunteers and the support of all the local groups, none of this could have happened.”

Ukraine manifestation 25 February 2024