At the European Movement and Mayor of London’s UK with Ukraine rally, Anna Bird, CEO of European Movement will say:
Freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law, human rights – these are the true values that unite our continent.
But just as these fundamental values have their champions, they too have their opponents.
That is why we've come to Trafalgar Square today, the centre of national democracy and protest.
With 100 years of important and necessary acts of protest and solidarity before us.
I wish it were not the case but contributing to that legacy of protest is deeply, deeply necessary.
So today — we join citizens across Europe to oppose Putin's aggressive war in Ukraine.
Because it cannot be that President Zelensky and the people of Ukraine must put their very lives on the line for the basic right to live in peace.
A right we take for granted.
The question now asked of us is, will we, as a country stay true to our values and defend the rights of our neighbours?
For me, for the European Movement, the answer to this is rooted in our belief that a closer, more united and peaceful Europe is in all of our interests.
For one day, our children and our grandchildren will learn about this horrifying time in their history lessons.
They will come home and ask us what we did in these moments that mattered.
What did we do when we saw a senseless, immoral and illegal attack on our neighbour?
I want to be able to look my children in the eye and say I — and all of us here — did everything possible.
That we spoke up, protested and marched.
That we donated, petitioned and demanded action.
That we opened our homes, opened our arms and brought the world closer together.
That is the duty of all of us here.
And whilst it is easy for opponents of peace to say that Putin doesn't care about what's happening here today or that he isn't listening.
The world is watching.
The people of Ukraine are listening and looking for hope. They need to know we're on their side.
I am certain of this: The only route to a peaceful future is one where we unite with our neighbours in Europe and around the world.
And that means me. That means you. That means all of us. Here today. Together. Protecting and fighting for Ukraine's right to live in a peaceful and united Europe.
So today — together — as Britons, as Europeans and internationalists we tell the world that Ukraine is with us, and we are with them.
Today — together — we tell Putin he will fail.
Today — together — we draw the line.
Today — together — and each day until Ukraine prevails.