It’s not often that another country’s flag is flown outside the Norwegian Parliament, but officials deemed it appropriate on Friday in another show of national support for Ukraine. It was the first of several events to mark the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Urkaine, and how Ukrainians are still fighting back.
“For the Parliament (Stortinget), it was important to mark this day and show that we stand together with the Ukrainian people,” said Stortingets President Masud Gharahkhani of the Labour Party. He and his colleagues representing the various parties in Parliament “therefore decided to raise the Ukrainian flag outside Parliament today.”
He was joined for the early morning ceremony by Ine Eriksen Søreide of the Conservatives, who leads the parliament’s foreign affairs- and defense committee and is both a former foreign affairs- and defense minister herself. They also invited several Ukrainina refugees, representatives of organizations working in and with Ukraine and staff from the Ukrainian Embassy in Oslo.
After the flag was raised alongside the Norwegian flag at 8am, they met over breakfast in the president’s office. “It was important for us to hear more about their situation today and what their needs will be moving forward,” Gharahkhani said.
More events in support of Ukraine were scheduled for later in the day, including a Friday prayer meeting organized by the Norwegian Church at Trefoldighetskirken (Trinity Church) from 3pm in downtown Oslo. Participants would be able to continue on to the large open area in front of the nearby Parliament building for a major demonstration against Russia’s war on Ukraine that would include appeals from top politicians, music and a torchlight march ending at City Hall Plaza.
Both the neighbouring Nobel Peace Center and the Oslo City Hall were due to be lit up in the colours of Ukrainian flag. Similar events were taking place nationwide and around the world.