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Packed squares and boulevards across Europe sounded like soccer stadiums Friday as crowds from Paris to Tbilisi, Georgia, cheered Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who addressed the public gatherings via video.
“Come out and support Ukraine as much as you can,” the media-savvy leader, a former actor who has captured the world’s admiration for standing up to Russia as it continues to attack Ukraine, urged the crowds.
Other cities holding rallies included Frankfurt, Prague, Bratislava, Vienna and Vilnius.
Zelenskyy has quickly become a symbol of his country’s resilience and determination to fight for its sovereignty.
“If we will fall, you will fall – so please don’t be silent, do not turn the blind on eye on this,” he said in the message, in which he pleaded for public support. “If we win, and I’m sure we’ll win, this will be the victory for the whole democratic world.”
He said Ukrainians were dying for “protecting your Europe.”
“This is our heart, this is the heart of Ukraine, standing together against the evil,” he added.
Also Friday, Zelenskyy sharply criticized NATO for refusing to implement a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
“Knowing that new strikes and casualties are inevitable, NATO deliberately decided not to close the sky over Ukraine,” he said. “All the people who die will die because of you.”
Meanwhile, in Serbia, protesters rallied in support of Russia after the country rejected calls from the European Union to sanction the Kremlin, with the government citing national interests.