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Another vigil for Ukraine

Pic by Eyleen Gomez

For the second day running, two Polish nationals stood outside No.6 Convent Place on Friday evening to call for an end to the war in Ukraine. But today, they were joined too by a Russian resident of Gibraltar.

Russian-born Tatiana Volnova Estella has lived in Gibraltar for 20 years.

“I feel terrible embarrassment and pain,” she told the Chronicle with tears in her eyes.

“I feel pain for all Ukrainians, Ukraine and Europe.”

“And for Russians who are trying to fight inside Russia without success as well.”

“They are killing the people and it is an embarrassment for Russians, well not ‘Putinlandia’, but for the other Russians and for all of Europe it is a huge threat.”

She joined Polish nationals Michael Żelazo and Maja Wisnewski who were back outside No.6 Convent Place with their placards in a bid to bring awareness of the ongoing war in Ukraine.

“I try to [teach] Russian culture to my kids but I find that difficult because they do not relate themselves to it. I have to refuse to speak Russian with them and I know it is a stereotype and not everyone thinks like that, but it is becoming a kind of symbol of Nazism, kind of,” she said.

“I don’t want to speak Russian to them at all because, how do I explain it to them?”

Echoing the sentiment expressed in protests around Europe, the three are calling for the war to stop, adding that too much damage has already been done.

Mr Żelazo was quick to point out that the protest is not against Russia but against Putin.

“We love Russia and we love Russian people,” he said.

While he welcomed some of the newly introduced moves by the Gibraltar Government, such as visas for Russian nationals and the suspension of the RT news channel, his focus lies with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“I really hope he agrees to send more missiles to Ukraine, especially to fight the helicopters and planes,” he said.

“Because I think that is what they really need at the moment.”

“If no one is willing to send any troops, then at least countries should send some weapons.”

He recognised there was little that Gibraltar could do to pressure Mr Johnson, but believes Gibraltar should continue to make clear that it sees the problem and wants to help in any way that it can.

Mr Żelazo has pledged to be outside No.6 Convent Place every day until the situation in Ukraine is resolved.

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