THE Oscar-winning actor Javier Bardem was among those who protested against the invasion of Ukraine in demonstrations held across Spain.
On Thursday protestors rallied outside the Russian embassy in Madrid and consulate in Barcelona, while further mass protests are planned for Friday and over the weekend.
Bardem was among those outside Russia’s embassy in Madrid on Thursday evening and warned about the ‘great wave of refugees’
“I’m here to demonstrate my condemnation of the Russian Federations of the war-like actions against Ukraine,” Bardem said.
“The invasion is a violation of Ukraine’s right to territorial sovereignty and in breach of international law,” the actor said.
But he said above all he was there “due to the concern for the wave of refugees this could generate as a consequence of this invasion.”
The demonstrators carried flags and banners and chanted slogans including: “Russians out of Ukraine”, “Ukraine is Europe”, “Putin, Hitler” and “Europe, Ukraine wants peace”.
“When the last Ukrainian soldier falls, Russia will come for the rest of Europe, for each one of you. The world is in danger!” read a message on one of the banners.
Some two hundred people attended the rally in Madrid, according to estimates, where the Ukrainian national anthem was also heard.
While in Barcelona a similar protest was staged outside the Russian consulate.
Oksana, a young woman of Ukrainian origin living in Barcelona, explained to the media the concern they feel for her family.
“Our brothers and sisters are in danger,” Oksana said.
In the Valencian Community, which is the region home to the second highest number of Ukrainian citizens living in Spain after Madrid, a demonstration was also staged outside Valencia’s Ukrainian consulate
Meanwhile in Cordoba at a basketball match where Ukraine was playing Spain on Thursday, emotions ran high.
“It must be the most difficult day of my life. We were all awake at 5am with the news about the war and the invasion,” Ukraine basketball star Artem Pustovyi told Reuters after the FIBA World Cup qualifying match.
“Nobody could believe what is happening with our country. It is impossible to think about a game when you know your family is in pain, with your country’s being bombed at the same time,” Pustovyi said.
The team, which is now stuck in Spain with the closure of Ukrainian air space, were given a standing ovation while a minute’s silence was held before and after the game.
Many players burst into tears after the match.
More protests are scheduled to take place across Spain with a huge demonstration being planned in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol at 7.30pm on Friday.
- ‘We’ll fight in the streets’: Spanish musician living in Ukraine describes defiance as Russian troops advance on Kiev
- Spain ‘strongly condemns’ Russia invasion of Ukraine and convenes emergency security council