Ukrainians descended upon Times Square on Sunday in hopes of shedding light on the high death toll of animals amid the ongoing, bloody conflict in Russia.
Ukrainian New Yorkers sheathed themselves in the iconic yellow and blue flags and waved those same colors under the bright lights of Times Square on Feb. 5. While they strive to remind the world of war crimes they say Russia is committing in their homeland and on their countrymen, they also looked to showcase the harm being done to animals.
“It’s ecocide. How can you have negotiations with someone who just basically destroys the planet? It’s impossible,” protest organizer Arthur Zgurov told amNewYork Metro. “As well as protecting the people of Ukraine, we have to protect the animals of Ukraine; we protect them as well because this is a horrible catastrophe.
Zgurov says he is concerned that some species will go extinct due to the constant attacks. With that in mind, he looked to take part in Sunday’s demonstration, held not only in New York but also globally.
In Manhattan, protesters chanted “Save Ukraine. Save the world!” while holding up masks to their faces depicting dogs, owls, cats, goats, and other animals.
“Thousands of domestic animals have been killed throughout this period of time,” Zgurov explained. “So, this is basically to show you know, those people, who still have concerns or still doubt why are we fighting, it is destroy those doubts to make them understand what we’re fighting for.”
During the action, some speakers shared stories of loved ones still trying to survive in the war-torn country while also adding tear-jerking accounts of those who have unfortunately perished. For individuals like Zgurov who have been hitting the streets in protest ever since the war began, he charged that he is not worn out and will continue to fight against the invasion.
“We will do our best to keep up with the protests,” Zgurov said.