She's got it 16:07 12 Jul 2023

Those who shout to the world about war: how Ukrainian women protest abroad

Ukrainians continue to protest against war abroad and demand fair sanctions and punishments for Russia. Rubryka collected stories of Ukrainian women who are speaking out against Russian aggression.

What is the problem?

Although residents of Western countries are informed about the war in Ukraine, they should be constantly reminded of it. In Europe, people can sometimes drift away from the issue and become numb to it due to a lack of information and ever-changing priorities that draw attention away from this war onto their own problems. The voice of the Ukrainian people must sound louder and louder to be heard where, thanks to the heroic resistance of Ukrainians, sirens do not sound, and Russian shells do not explode.

What is the solution?

Organizing actions, performances, protests, and other forms of reminders of the tragic war in the heart of modern Europe is a great way to raise awareness among people outside of Ukraine, an opportunity to shape global policies, and persuade world leaders to take more proactive measures. Ukrainian refugee women, activists, and diaspora representatives are the loudest voices speaking out against Russia's armed aggression. Ukrainian girls and women are speaking up for those wounded, maimed, and killed by Russian occupiers' weapons daily.

How does it work?

"People should not forget about us!"

як українски протестують проти війни

A Ukrainian blogger poured artificial blood on herself at the Cannes Film Festival. Photo: United 24

In Cannes, the grandeur of one of the world's most renowned film events was ruined by the desperate performance of the Ukrainian Ilona Chernobay. She caused quite the scene by creating a self-inflicted 'bloodbath' right on the Cannes Film Festival red carpet. This way, the Ukrainian fitness trainer put together a demonstration in support of Ukraine. The girl arrived at the event wearing a dress featuring the colors of the Ukrainian flag, and then, in front of a hundred reporters, she poured the red paint she'd brought with her over her chest. 

For Ilona Chernobay, war is a part of life since she's from Kramatorsk, close to the frontlines. 

"At the Cannes festival, there are people from different countries – Great Britain, Spain, Poland, Germany, Spain. Imagine that you can come and be killed for your country's flag. Ukrainians do not need to imagine. They are exposed to danger every hour, not only for the flag's presence but even for a simple conversation in the Ukrainian language. Our main task is to show that Ukraine does not give up its territories and people. We know that people are waiting for us in Donetsk, Luhansk, and Yalta, despite any myths of Russian propaganda," Ilona commented on her action.

After the show, security escorted Chornobay out, banning her from the festival and all other events. But news of her photo and what happened spread like wildfire all over the globe. 

"My country is in blood, my people are in blood"

як українски протестують проти війни

A model, Alina Baikova, wearing a Fuck you Putin T-shirt, came to the Cannes Film Festival

Ukrainian model Alina Baikova tried to call attention to the war in her country at the Cannes Film Festival by wearing a t-shirt with the words "Fuck you Putin" on the red carpet. Security guards immediately surrounded her to hide her clothes.

"Here is the proof of "real support" of Ukraine. I was surrounded and asked to leave the red carpet, as the festival does not engage in politics," Baikova wrote.

It's not Alina Baikova's first appearance in a "controversial" outfit. She rocked a yellow dress sweater saying "Fuck you Putin" to the Fashion Week opening party in NY in February. It was a striking statement towards those who support Russia's terrorist policy against Ukraine.

Супермодель Аліна Байкова у

Supermodel Alina Baikova in a "bloody" dress at the Venice Film Festival.

Alina is originally from Kropyvnytskyi and has been living and working in the US for quite a while now. The subject of war is very painful for her. Last year, she hit the red carpet at the Venice Film Festival wearing a bloody red dress.

"I don't wear red for passion. I wear red because my country is in blood, my people are in blood. Emotionally and physically," Alina Baikova emphasized.

"Ukraine's Voice" in the Czech Republic

як українски протестують проти війни

An activist in a "bloody" pool in front of the Russian Embassy in the Czech Republic. Screenshot from the video. The red paint symbolized the blood of Ukrainians, which the Russian occupiers have been spilling for the second year as part of their "special operation.»

The "Hlas Ukrajiny" initiative—a group of Ukrainians that are not staying quiet and rallying for Ukraine in Prague—organized an action labeled "Russia is a fascist state.» This initiative was set up by Yaroslava Burko and Anastasia Sihnaevska after the beginning of the full-scale war, both having had to flee Ukraine and take refuge in the Czech Republic.

The girls not only organize protest actions in Prague but also provide guidance on how to do them in other cities and countries. 

"Atrocities of the Russian occupiers in Ukrainian cities horrify the whole world"

як українски протестують проти війни

Ukrainian women are demonstrating outside the White House in Washington. Photo: USUA

In April, the charitable organization USUA, "US Ukrainian Activists", commemorated Ukrainians, killed by the Russian occupiers in Bucha a year ago, near the White House in Washington. 

Nadiia Shaporynska, as the event organizer, pointed out: "The Bucha massacre amounts to one of the earliest instances of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Russian forces. The atrocities committed by Russian invaders in Bucha, Irpin, Mariupol, Izium, Kherson, Borodianka, and many other affected Ukrainian cities horrify the entire world".

The participants of the action outside the White House called on the US administration to recognize Russia as a terrorist state and to support the creation of a Special Tribunal for Russia to hold everybody accountable and bring justice.

"Kids are not a weapon"

як українски протестують проти війни

An action was held in Milan dedicated to Children's Day

A gathering took place in Milan for Children's Day called #kidsarenotaweapon, where activists discussed Russia's war atrocities.

The UaMi association and WAW Ukraine organized the action, which allowed even more people to learn about Russia's war crimes in Ukraine that have been happening for over a year and a half. Also, the action organizers voiced quotes from young Ukrainians who learned firsthand what it means to experience war. 

"Mom, I want to go home: I planned to spend many happy years in my room" (David Kurhinian, four years old).

"Be brave like Ukraine"

як українски протестують проти війни

Ukrainian Victoria Apanasenko performed at Miss Universe 2022 in a dress with the inscription "Be brave like Ukraine"

At the start of the year, Viktoria Apanasenko from Chernihiv, Ukraine, took part in the first round of the "Miss Universe-2022" beauty contest in New Orleans. The hosts gave each contestant a white canvas to express their story. Viktoria's outfit was adorned with the Ukrainian national motto: BE BRAVE LIKE UKRAINE.

The Ukrainian artist Soyka crafted a cape with a message to the world while enduring long, cold nights illuminated only by candlelight amid power outages, aerial assaults, and shelling.

як українски протестують проти війни

Victoria Apanasenko in a Warrior of Light costume. Photo: Getty Images

At the national costume contest, Victoria Apanasenko presented the image of an angel with a sword. The "Warrior of Light" costume symbolized the Ukrainian nation's struggle against the Russian darkness.

"No matter how tough it gets, we're embracing our right to freedom and are aware of what it takes," wrote "Miss Ukraine Universe" on Instagram.

"Red viburnum" on the tank

як українски протестують проти війни

Kateryna Polishchuk (callsign "Ptashka" Birdie) sings on a tank in front of the Russian embassy in Germany. Screenshot from the video.

For Paramedic Ptashka, the scene was a knocked-out Russian tank that was standing right in front of the Russian embassy in Berlin. On the anniversary of Russia's full-scale attack on Ukraine, "Azovstal" defender Kateryna Polishchuk, fondly known as "Ptashka,» was in Germany.
She encountered Ukrainians who were made to abandon their homes due to Russian invaders. Ptashka encouraged them with the song "Oh, there is a red viburnum in the meadow," which has become a sign of the Ukrainian people since the beginning of the full-blown war.

"Not a single tank of the occupier that set foot on our land will remain intact. Not a single criminal will go unpunished. We are talking about the fact that We are Ukraine. And that Ukraine will win!", Ptashka said in the post to the video.

It should be noted that paramedic Kateryna Polishchuk, alongside other defenders of Mariupol, was taken captive back in May last year. She was freed from Russian captivity on September 21, 2022.

"Russia is a country that killed more than 500 Ukrainian children"

як українски протестують проти війни

Sofia Samoliuk at the Sanremo Junior 2023 festival. Photo: the singer's press service

The Kyiv-based young vocalist Sofia Samoliuk was set to perform the English-Ukrainian song "Earth" at the Italian song festival "Sanremo Junior 2023".

However, the girl refused to sing because a performer from Russia was allowed to participate in the competition. Instead of a song, a 13-year-old Ukrainian gave a powerful speech in which she pointed out the inadmissibility of the participation of citizens of the aggressor country in international competitions.

According to Sofia, she did not warn about her speech – she was afraid that she would be banned. So that no one would guess, she participated in all the rehearsals, and before leaving, she hid a piece of paper with a speech in her sleeve.

"Dear audience, I decided not to sing today. I found out that there is a participant from Russia, a country that killed more than 500 Ukrainian children. Therefore, I cannot perform on the same stage as a representative of a terrorist country. Thank you all for your understanding. I believe that there will be no representative of this country next year. Please support Ukraine," Sofia told the Italian audience.

After the speech, the girl received a lot of support. However, the organizers of the competition did not react to the situation.

"My home is flooding because of Russia"

як українски протестують проти війни

Ukrainian women were calling on people to help residents of Ukraine. Screenshot from the video of Alisa Malysheva and Sofia Kvitka.

In Denmark, Ukrainian artists Alisa Malysheva and Sofia Kvitka put on a performance to remind the world of the tragedy in the Kherson region caused by the Russian occupiers when they destroyed the Kakhovka HPP.

Ukrainian women waded into the lake holding posters that read "My home is flooded because of Russia." They were encouraging people to share the news and donate to assist Ukraine.

Sofia Kvitka said she's from Dnipro, and her colleague is from Stanytsia Luhanska. After the Russian invasion started, they had to leave Ukraine and are now studying in Denmark.

"Perhaps some people took the message about 'my home' literally, but for us, Ukraine is our home, on the territory of which there is currently a flood due to a Russian terrorist attack," explained the performance authors.

The terrorist country has no place in international organizations

як українски протестують проти війни

In Augsburg, activists called on the world community to deprive Russia of the right to be a member of the United Nations. Photo: Ukrainian Security and Cooperation Center

In Germany, activists demonstrated who remains mum at the UN Security Council table about expelling Russia from the organization. Ukrainian women who now live in Augsburg, together with the representative of the Ukrainian Center for Security and Cooperation (UCSC) in Germany, Kateryna Matei, organized a performance in the city's central square with the demand to exclude Russia from the UN. Demonstrators focused on each of the organization's member countries and showed who silently supports Russian aggression and who supports Ukraine.

The activists called on the world community to deprive Russia of the right to be a member of the United Nations and to exclude the terrorist state from the organization.

Even more helpful solutions!

Today, millions of Ukrainians are living abroad. Everyone who cares about the fate of our Motherland needs to speak loudly about Ukraine. For this, it is not even necessary to organize high-profile promotions. 

Wherever you are:

  • tell locals about Ukrainian traditions;
  • recommend to foreigners you know to listen to our music and read Ukrainian literature;
  • introduce them to the works of our artists and spread information about them;
  • organize a themed party and invite your new friends and neighbors there;
  • show them a photo of peaceful life before the war, your home, your hometown.

The more this gets done, the sooner Ukraine will be heard.


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