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Hundreds Gather In Santa Monica To Support Ukraine, Demand U.S. No-Fly Zone

A large half light blue on top, yellow on bottom Ukrainian flag is waved by a hand in shadow in front of a dark blue sky in front of the sun. Two other hands wave smaller Ukrainian flags in the air next to an obscured dark street light lamp post during the daytime in Santa Monica.
Hundreds participated in a Stand with Ukraine Rally in Santa Monica on Saturday, March 12, 2022. Demonstrators marched through the 3rd Street Promenade calling for an end to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
(Daniella Segura for LAist)
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Hundreds gathered in Santa Monica on Saturday to make their voices heard in support of Ukraine.

The demonstration, which began at 1 p.m. on the Third Street Promenade, was packed with local Ukrainian-Americans and other supporters from all over L.A.

The march and rally was organized by Stand with Ukraine L.A. The group wants the U.S. military to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine and increase their efforts to isolate Russia.

A crowd of Ukraine-supporting demonstrators stand in a row in the daylight. From left to right, a man with dark aviator sunglasses, curly blonde hair and a beard looks with a neutral expression, a man wearing blue v-neck t-shirt with dark brown hair and yellow and blue framed dark sunglasses holds a water bottle and rolled up papers in front of a Ukrainian flag, a blonde woman wearing light blue jeans and a white tank top holds a sign which reads "Help Ukraine" in blue, then gold with a QR code, a woman with brown hair and a blue and yellow wearing a yellow top and light blue jeans and a blue and yellow flower wreath and brown sunglasses holds a sign which a reads "NATO CLOSE The Sky" in blue and gold, then red.
Hundreds participated in a Stand with Ukraine Rally in Santa Monica on Saturday, March 12, 2022. Demonstrators marched through the 3rd Street Promenade calling for an end to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
(Daniella Segura for LAist)
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Stand with Ukraine LA’s Facebook page for the event also listed an aimed ask to “Immediately provide military aid to Ukraine, especially the air defense systems and the heavy weaponry, as well as financial and humanitarian aid,” as one of the motivations behind the march.

A Caucasian man with medium-length brunette hair, a beard, and a gray polo shirt looks down with his eyes mostly closed outside in the daylight while holding up a yellow flag.
Hundreds participated in a Stand with Ukraine Rally in Santa Monica on Saturday, March 12, 2022. Demonstrators marched through the 3rd Street Promenade calling for an end to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
(Daniella Segura for LAist)

Oleksandr Strukov is one of the organizers behind the event. He voiced concern about his loved ones in Ukraine when he spoke to LAist.

“The community and this protest gives me the possibility to help somehow Ukraine and help my friends and family in Ukraine,” Strukov said. “Even though I'm not helping them directly.”

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Strukov estimated 600 to 700 hundred people attended the event, maybe even up to a thousand.

Mykhailo Lavrys, another one of the event's organizers, said that Angelenos are acutely aware of the injustices ongoing in Ukraine.

A crowd of one dozen people walk toward the end of the Santa Monica pier with buildings, the beach, the ocean and shore in the background. A long Ukrainian flag colored blue and gold is stretched along the entire length of the crowd along the center. At the front of the crowd, and a gray-haired man with dark sunglasses, a blue jacket holds a brown cardboard sign with letters in black outlined in white that reads "PUTIN IS HITLER." A man wearing a dark shirt next to him holds a flag pole bearing two flags,  the American flag, with red and white stripes, a blue rectangle and white stars, and a Ukrainian flag, blue on top and gold on the bottom. Behind that man is a young man in his twenties wearing pink shorts and a blue shirt holding a black sign with white lettering that says "Russian People Remove Putin."
Hundreds participated in a Stand with Ukraine Rally in Santa Monica on Saturday, March 12, 2022. Demonstrators marched through the 3rd Street Promenade calling for an end to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
(Daniella Segura for LAist)

“The whole city sees what’s happening,” Lavrys said after the event. “[It] sees Russia for what it is and supports Ukraine and its fight for democracy. We always want to make it clear that Ukraine…it’s not just fighting for its freedom, for its independence. It’s also fighting for the peace of the whole world. Because if Ukraine falls, which we know it won’t, it would give a signal to other countries across the world that if you are a powerful country, you can just invade a smaller country and get away with it.”

A crowd of about eight people walks on the sidewalk along a road in Santa Monica. A caucasian man at the front of the photo on the left holds two flags, one a version of the state of California's flag, but colored Blue on the top eighty percent and gold on the bottom twenty percent in the style of the Ukrainian glag. The bear and California republic logo on the flag is also gold. The second flag is the Ukrainian flag, half blue on top, half gold on bottom, with a blue and yellow shield logo in the center. The man wears a green, tan, and brown camouflage t-shirt with a gold cursive script logo on the top right corner. Behind the man are two people wearing blue and gold Ukrainian flags draped over their shoulders. White buildings sit in the background on the other side of the street. A man deep blurred in dark shadow in the background holds a sign which reads "Putin Is Hitler" in black text on a white background.
Hundreds participated in a Stand with Ukraine Rally in Santa Monica on Saturday, March 12, 2022. Demonstrators marched through the 3rd Street Promenade calling for an end to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
(Daniella Segura for LAist)
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Strukov said that the full rally lasted at least three hours, with some demonstrators staying around the area until 5 or 6 p.m.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misattributed the story's second quote to Oleksandr Strukov, not Mykhailo Lavrys. We regret this error.

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