The Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations (AFUO) is aware that pro-Russia rallies will be held this Saturday, 4 March.
The Ukrainian-Australian community will not be holding counter-protests or engaging with these activities.
The organisers of these rallies are explicitly encouraging pro-Russian activists to bring their russian flags and “Z” symbols — Z being the genocidal, neo-fascist symbol used by the Russian army in its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. They question Australian bipartisan decisions to provide humanitarian aid and military support to Ukraine.
Kyiv’s request for assistance from Australia, and the international community, is driven by the simple fact that Ukraine needs to defend its territory and people. Australia’s support is crucial in helping Ukraine as it faces a relentless war of aggression in which civilians are murdered; cities, neighborhoods, infrastructure are destroyed; and unspeakable war crimes are committed.
The AFUO is deeply grateful that the Australian Government and Australian people have responded so generously to Ukraine’s call for help. We know that this has been driven by shared values of a “fair go”, decency and respect for human rights; Australia’s steadfast support for the international rules based order; and the negative consequences of the invasion on global food security, energy, finance, the environment, and nuclear safety.
The Ukrainian-Australian community will not be holding counter protests or engaging with the pro-Russia demonstrators on Saturday. We will not be distracted by their hateful propaganda. The Ukrainian-Australian community will remain focused on helping Ukraine and Ukrainians, supporting Australia’s principled response to Russia’s brutal and illegal war, and aiding Ukrainian people who have been displaced to Australia by Russia’s war.
We welcome Australians’ support and encourage them to continue to stand with us as we defend democracy, freedom and a just world.