Landmarks across Sunderland are being lit in the Ukrainian national colours of yellow and blue.

The landmarks are lit on Thursday 23 from dusk to dawn to show solidarity with Ukraine and the anniversary of Russia’s invasion which began on 24 February last year. They will remain lit for the next week.

Other events include:

• Sunderland Minster is holding a peace vigil from 6pm on Thursday 23 February

• The Ukrainian flag will be flying at City Hall on Friday 24 February

• Everyone is reminded of the national moment of silence on Friday 24 February at 11am

• On Sunday 26 February at the Salvation Army Church in Roker Avenue, Sunderland for Ukraine holds a fundraising concert for volunteers who are delivering humanitarian aid. Doors open at 3.30pm for the 4 to 6.30pm concert and Ukrainian food and gifts will also be available. Tickets are £6 for adults and £2 for children.

Leader of Sunderland City Council, Councillor Graeme Miller said: “A year on from the brutal invasion by Putin’s Russia and the people of Ukraine continue to have our unreserved support.

“Ukrainians remain steadfast in the defence of their country and their freedoms, and our city is serious about showing our solidarity and support for Ukraine. Our thoughts and prayers are very much with the people of the Ukraine and their journey to peace.”

Alyona Ischuk (34) arrived in Sunderland in May 2022 with her two children and mother from Odessa in southern Ukraine.

She said: “For me last year was a year of fear and despair, a year of loss and separation from my family, a year of tears and uncertainty, it was a year of trials and hardships.

“But thank God, despite this, this year gave me many friends from different countries, which is the greatest treasure of all treasures! This year was also a year of prayers, support and strong hugs, resilience and faith in victory!

“We have changed our priorities in life. Now we know for sure that the most important thing is your family and a peaceful sky! We had time to get to know ourselves, our identity. We realised that unity is our strength! We can do much more than we thought, and more than others expected of us.

“We are all very grateful to the Government and everyone in Sunderland and the UK who cares and helps us with support.”

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