It is Ukraine’s flag that is flying on top of the Balliol College in Oxford University, where UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson studied. Outside at Broad Street, a ‘Standing with Giants’ installation features a Ukrainian soldier and a family, aimed to be replicated across Europe.
Travel across the United Kingdom (UK) and the support for war-ravaged Ukraine from the British is much visible, and quite abundant.
Johnson was in Ukraine two days ago, walking the streets of Kyiv along with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a big show of support for the nation under attack from Russia. Back home, UK newspapers say the Ukraine war has come as a shot in the arm for Johnson whose term was grappling with the police inquiries into ‘PartyGate’ in which top government officials are alleged to have broken lockdown rules by ‘partying’ at 10, Downing Street. Speak to an average British in UK and they have no doubt that Ukraine is the “victim”.
At underground stations and on billboards in London, there are appeals to donate money for the Ukraine cause from the British Red Cross and the Disasters Emergency Committee of UK Aid. The UK government says on the billboards that it will match pound-to-pound up to $20 million donated by the public to the appeal. Across London, Oxford and Somerset, one can see people sporting Ukraine flags outside their houses and shops as a show of support. “That is the least we can do for Ukraine,” shopkeeper Pat Read told News18 in Bath.
On top of the famous Bath Abbey in Bath town, it is again the Ukraine flag which is flying. So is the case at many key buildings in Oxford.
Standing with Giants
Another initiative that has caught everyone’s eye in the UK is the ‘Standing with Giants’ project, which involves putting up installations titled ‘The Monumental Solidarity’ across the UK, depicting an armed Ukranian soldier leading a Ukrainian woman and child to safety. News18 spotted one such installation on Oxford’s Broad Street, right outside the Balliol College. A board here says it as a “not-for-profit” community project to “honour those who fight for freedom and to show our unwavering solidarity to people suffering in Ukraine”.
The blueprints of the installation are being made available to share with cities across UK, Europe and many of the 141 countries that have signed up to condemn Russia’s attack on Ukraine. “We hope others will erect similar tributes to create a unified image of solidarity. The ‘Standing With Giants’ community project is also seeking donations to develop and expand the initiative. “Imagery plays a huge part in war; it can send a powerful message to aggressors and show solidarity to those in need,” the board reads, explaining the idea behind the same.
Oxford City and County councils worked closely together to provide the space on Oxford’s Broad Street to display the installation.