Ottawa installing 'Free Ukraine' street signs in front of the Russian Embassy
Street signs calling for a free Ukraine as a gesture of solidarity from the City of Ottawa are installed on posts along Charlotte Street in front of the Embassy of Russia in Ottawa, as Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine, on Wednesday, March 2, 2022. (Justin Tang/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The city of Ottawa is installing new "Free Ukraine" street signs in front of the Russian Embassy in Sandy Hill to protest Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine.
Mayor Jim Watson unveiled the new "Free-Libre Ukraine" blue and yellow sign blades Wednesday morning that will be installed on Charlotte Street. Watson was joined by Coun. Mathieu Fleury and Ukrainian Charge D'Affaires, Andrii Bukvych to unveil the new signs across the street from the embassy.
The mayor says the signs are being installed in front of the Russian Embassy to "denounce their government's actions and to stand with the people of Ukraine."
Watson says the signs will send a clear message.
"Small symbol of defiance that every single day a Russian employee goes into work, they will be reminded with these signs looking down on them that they are engaged in war crimes and an illegal war," Watson said.
The mayor has also sent a letter to Immigration Minister Sean Fraser offering to work with the federal government to identify resources and opportunities to welcome Ukrainians to Ottawa.
In the letter, Watson notes Ottawa is a "vibrant caring city" that has opened its arms to multiple waves of refugees from other countries facing "political adversity, religious persecution and natural disasters."
"Residents of Ottawa are utterly heartbroken at the events unfolding in Ukraine and at the immensely difficult situation facing those who are fleeing their beloved homeland," Watson wrote.
"If the city of Ottawa can be of any assistance, please know that we want to help in a constructive way."
Several cultural and heritage institutions in Ottawa are showing solidarity with the Ukrainian people.
The Canadian Museum of Nature is lighting its Queens' Lantern in blue and golden yellow, while the National Arts Centre and the National Gallery of Canada are also illuminated in the blue and golden yellow of Ukraine.
With files from CTV News Ottawa's Leah Larocque