Ukrainians raised national flags and played the country’s anthem to show unity against fears of a Russian invasion.
The yellow and blue banner fluttered outside schools, hospitals and many shops on Wednesday to mark “Unity Day”, a holiday President Volodymyr Zelenskyy created this week after Russia massed troops near Ukraine’s borders.
Russia has denied it will invade but has warned it could take unspecified “military-technical” action if its security demands, including restrictions on NATO, are not met.
On Kyiv’s main Khreshchatyk boulevard, where flags decorated government offices, it was business as usual for many.
“Just a normal day, but these flags are here for a purpose, to show we fear no one. They did not scare us,” said Mykola, who operates a small coffee stand.
A loudspeaker at a local government office in Kyiv blared patriotic songs, while television and government YouTube channels broadcast speeches and rousing reminders of Ukraine’s nationhood.
In a televised address, Zelenskyy said Ukrainians were united around a common desire “to live in peace, happily, in a family, children with parents”.
“No one can love our home as we can. And only we, together, can protect our home,” he said.
Zelenskyy, himself an active social media user, called on Ukrainians to post pictures and videos of the Ukrainian flag and add hashtags. On Instagram, users posted under #UnityDay.