Today, Friday February 24th, marks one year since Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Since then, nearly 700 Ukrainians have arrived Vancouver Island under the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel (CUAET) Visa program, according to the Canada Border Services Agency.
To pay respects to the estimated 300,000 military and civilian lives lost and millions of displaced, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress invited members of the public to participate in a candlelight vigil in solidarity with Ukraine.
On January 15th, a 28-year-old man living in Port Alice was killed in action in the war between Ukraine and Russia.
Grygorii Tsekhmistrenko, whose friends called him Greg, was killed near Bakhmut, which is considered one of the hotspots to be fighting in Ukraine’s warzone.
“Many times, when I thought I was going to die, I would look over at Greg, who was still trying to keep our spirits up in the face of overwhelming odds,” wrote Art on Facebook, remembering his friend.
As of June 2022, there were over 600 Canadian volunteer fighters aiding them in fighting back the Russian invaders.
Related: 28-year-old Vancouver Island man killed in Ukraine while defending homeland
Tonight’s gathering took place outside the BC Legislature. Roughly 200 people in attendance lit candles to pay their respects.
In case you were not able to make it, here are five captures recapping the event: