Prague switches off Christmas tree in solidarity with Ukraine

Christmas trees in major cities and lights on iconic buildings around the world were switched off Wednesday for one minute.


Written by ČTK Published on 22.12.2022 06:01:00 (updated on 23.12.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague, Dec 21 (ČTK) - The Christmas tree in Prague's Old Town was switched off for a symbolic one-minute Wednesday as an expression of solidarity with Ukraine, with Prague Mayor Zdeňek Hřib pointing out that while Christmas lights are shining in Czechia Ukrainians are often without power, heat, and water.

Lights went out in support of Ukraine at about 60 locations worldwide today, the organizers of the international event have written on their website.

"We must realize that a mere few hundred kilometers away from us there are millions of people who have lost what we consider something quite natural, which is electric power and is my hope that Ukrainian towns shine again soon, just as this tree will shine again in a moment," Hřib told the crowd before the lights on the 25-meter-tall fir tree went dark.

Ukrainian charge d'affaires Vitali Usatiy, who attended the event in Prague's Old Town Square, thanked Czechs for supporting the war-afflicted country which has faced Russian bombing for 301 days now. Missiles and drones have destroyed over 60 percent of the country's energy infrastructure, many households have been left without heat and light, he said.

In a call to support the project, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky emphasized that Ukraine still needs support.

Support is needed by a doctor who operates in darkness, by every father and every mother who is doing their utmost to secure all that is necessary for their children, even in darkness, and by every Ukrainian, who still believes in freedom, despite the darkness, Zelensky said.

At Zelenskiy's initiative, a public fundraising campaign has been launched to enable the purchase of power generators for Ukraine. People can support it via the United24 website.

Western countries and humanitarian organizations have been sending dozens of power generators to Ukraine. The Czech Republic has sent in nine so far, the most efficient of which can keep a small hospital in operation. Prague previously sent 626 diesel heating and 18 power-generation devices.

Over 60 iconic locations turned off the lights today as a show of solidarity with the people of Ukraine including, among them Rome's Colosseum, the Sydney Opera House, the European Parliament building in Brussels, the Scottish Parliament building in Edinburgh, the Christmas trees near the Rockefeller Center in New York, and in London, on Trafalgar Square.

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