Members of the University's Ukrainian society attended the vigilMartha Shawyer for Varsity

Large crowds gathered on King’s Parade on Saturday (24/02) to mark two years since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine with a candlelit vigil.

The event was organised by Cambridge4Ukraine, a volunteering initiative who have held demonstrations every week since the invasion. Among supporters of the vigil were members of the Cambridge University Ukrainian Society (CUUS), the University Ukrainian language faculty, and the Ukrainian Heritage, Art and Music Centre.

The candlelit display also saw speeches in both English and Ukrainian, the reciting of Ukrainian poems, and a crowd rendition of the Ukrainian national anthem.

In a press release for the event, Cambridge4UK said: “Ukraine became the epicentre of historical events that both affect global everyday life and shape our common future. We refuse to be forgotten and we will not forget.”

Those at the event were keen to emphasise the importance of still supporting Ukraine, with one speaker saying: “Every single one of you here today are more important than you’ve ever been, because in the beginning it’s very easy to get a large crowd, now it’s a different story.”

Vlodomir Masaltin, President of CUUS, was asked by Varsity if he thought that the University was doing enough for Ukraine. He said: “I don’t think so, have we seen any flags flying around? Have we seen any news? I was trying to find a room for an exhibition and I texted so many colleges, I had 20 answers no. Do you think they’re doing enough?”

Cambridge University has currently not acknowledged the anniversary of the invasion either through a formal statement or any social media platforms, CUUS noted. The University has also failed to fly the Ukrainian flag to commemorate the invasion since 2022, the society said.

Anastasiia Koziak, CUUS secretary, added: “We do acknowledge and appreciate the support the University has provided for those students who are here, but Ukraine and Ukrainian students need more support.”


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Michael Clegg, a University administrator and Ukraine campaigner, told Varsity: “When the full-scale invasion first happened, there was support for Ukraine right across Cambridge and the University. Russian aggression was obvious and Ukraine was the plucky underdog. That support isn’t always so evident today. ”

“Yet it’s now, after two years of terrible war, that Ukraine’s dedication to a democratic future is most impressive and our solidarity most needed. It’s understandable that the war in Gaza takes a lot of people’s attention, but there’s no anti-colonialism worth the name that doesn’t stand with Ukraine, its armed forces as well as its people,” Clegg continued.

“Everyone in Cambridge – the people and the University – need to step up and stand by Ukraine for the long-haul, whether through providing resources and hospitality, or just staying clear-eyed about false narratives that pretend surrender to fascism is peace,” he said.

A University spokesperson told Varsity: “We will continue to do everything we can to support students and staff who have been impacted by Russia’s war on Ukraine. The welfare, wellbeing, and safety of our community is, and will remain, our priority.”