Ukraine’s blue-and-yellow flag began flying above Charleston’s historic City Hall on Friday afternoon, a symbolic gesture of the city of South Carolina’s solidarity with Europe’s democracy. the East which now faces invasion from neighboring Russia.
The Ukrainian flag was raised on the government building in downtown Charleston shortly after 1 p.m., a city spokesperson confirmed.
In a statement, Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg noted that the city has already raised the flags of other countries at City Hall. However, such occasions were often celebrated, such as flying the Irish flag on St. Patrick’s Day and hoisting the French flag on Bastille Day.
“Today we fly the flag of Ukraine for a more solemn reason: to recognize the extraordinary valor of the Ukrainian people as they fight for their democracy against a brutal Russian dictator,” Tecklenburg said.
Similar gestures of solidarity have taken place around the world, particularly in Europe, with iconic buildings lit up in Ukrainian colors of blue and yellow, from the famous Roman Colosseum to London’s 10 Downing Street.
“We are proud to stand in solidarity with the brave men and women of Ukraine, and hope Mr. Putin will heed the call of honest people around the world to immediately end this cruel and unjust war,” Tecklenburg said in a statement. his statement.
About 2,600 Ukrainian-born people now live in South Carolina, according to 2019 census figures, the latest available.
Spartanburg County has South Carolina’s largest population of Ukrainian-born people, at 1,341. Charleston County, by comparison, is home to 128 people born in Ukraine, according to 2019 census figures.
In a pre-dawn speech on Russian television this week, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced he was attacking Ukraine and warned other countries that any attempt to interfere would have “consequences that you don’t have. never seen”.
Large explosions were heard before dawn in Kiev, Kharkiv and Odessa as world leaders denounced the start of a Russian invasion that could cause mass casualties and topple Ukraine’s democratically elected government.
In response, President Joe Biden announced new sanctions meant to punish Russia and ordered the deployment of thousands more troops to Germany, a NATO ally.
“Putin is the aggressor,” Biden said in a televised address Thursday afternoon. “Putin chose this war, and now he and his country will bear the consequences.”
South Carolina leaders also condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. On Wednesday evening, senior US state senator Lindsey Graham urged the world to “condemn Putin’s destruction of a neighboring democracy as a war crime.”
In his speech Thursday, Biden said America is a nation that stands up to bullies.
“We defend freedom. It’s who we are,” Biden said. He then promised: “Putin will be a pariah on the international scene”.