BERLIN, Feb 24 — Thousands of protesters rallied across Germany today in support of Ukraine on the second anniversary of Moscow’s full-scale invasion, even as doubts grow about Kyiv’s chances of victory.

Rallies took place in Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt and other cities.

In the capital, thousands gathered in front of the Brandenburg Gate waving banners that read “stand up for Ukraine” and “arm Ukraine now”.

Addressing the crowd, Berlin mayor Kai Wegner decried Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “brutal war of aggression”.


“He wants to wipe out Ukraine, he wants to wipe out the identities of Ukrainians,” he said.

“But we won’t let happen. We will stand by Ukraine’s side.”

He called on Berlin to deliver long-range Taurus missiles long sought by Kyiv, a demand that the German government has so far refused for fears they could also strike inside Russia.


Organisers said about 10,000 people took part in the rally. Police put the figure at around 5,000.

In a square in the historic heart of Frankfurt, about 1,000 people took part in a rally, according to police, where they heard calls from speakers to accelerate the delivery of weapons to Kyiv.

Ukraine’s armed forces have in recent times acknowledged facing frontline problems, pointing to a lack of Western aid, while Russian forces have been making gains.

“The West must do more to support Ukraine,” Achem Lobreuer, a 58-year-old engineer, told AFP at the rally.

This included delivering more armaments, but also “supporting negotiations”, he said.

“My message to Putin is that he must end this war.”

Maksym Godovnikov, a 38-year-old Ukrainian at the Frankfurt rally, also urged Ukraine’s allies to step up military support.

“If we have more weapons, we can protect ourselves and also win back land that was previously conquered,” he said.

Rallies were also taking place in other European capitals to mark the day Russia sent its troops into Ukraine, bringing war back to Europe for the first time in decades.

The anniversary comes as concerns grow in Europe about Ukraine’s faltering efforts to fend off Moscow.

According to a survey released last week, only 10 per cent of Europeans believe Ukraine can defeat Russia on the battlefield.

The survey conducted last month across 12 EU countries showed that on average 20 per cent of those asked believed Russia could win, and 37 per cent thought the conflict would end in a compromise settlement. — AFP