Hundreds gathered outside the Ukrainian embassy in the Azerbaijani capital Baku on Sunday to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The action was organised by a number of Azerbaijani activists.
Chants of ‘Ukraine!’, ‘No to war!’, ‘Reject Putin!’, ‘Love Ukraine!’, ‘Ukrainian people, Azerbaijani people are with you!’, ‘Putin, get out!’, ‘Russia without Putin!’, and more were heard at the demonstration.
A statement put out by the organisers strongly condemned the Russian invasion as a violation of international law and the principle of territorial integrity.
‘We commemorate those who have died in the defence of Ukraine. Russia’s occupying forces must be unconditionally withdrawn from Ukrainian territory. We demand that Russian officials, including Putin, who decided to go to war against Ukraine, be brought before an international military tribunal’, the statement said.
Representatives of the Ukrainian Embassy addressed the protesters, with embassy spokesperson Oleg Klinchenko thanking the Azerbaijani people for their support.
‘Azerbaijani people have been with the Ukrainian people since day one. On behalf of the people of Ukraine, the Embassy of Ukraine, we thank the people of Azerbaijan, the leadership of Azerbaijan. The Azerbaijani people support Ukraine’, he said.
Later, Ukrainian Ambassador Vladyslav Kanevsky shared videos and photos from the rally on social media and expressed his gratitude.
The action took place without incident and the police did not intervene.
Elman Nasirov, an MP from the ruling New Azerbaijan Party, told Pravda the rally was ‘not against Russia’.
‘I consider the action in Baku as humanitarian support. In any case, such an action is not against Russia. If Russia were in a similar situation [as Ukraine], Azerbaijan would take the same steps. In this case, the main party suffering serious losses is Ukraine’, Nasirov said.
On Saturday, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said Azerbaijan had sent humanitarian assistance to Ukraine.
‘I am continuing negotiations with international partners. I had a conversation with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. Thank you for the humanitarian aid and medicines provided. Thank you for your support’, Zelensky wrote on Twitter.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev also said that state oil and gas firm SOCAR would provide free fuel to ambulances and fire engines in Ukraine.
The government has said that Azerbaijan’s Silk Way Airlines has already made two deliveries of humanitarian aid estimated at a total of €5 million ($5.6 million) worth to Ukrainians.