James stages vigil for Ukraine

James Gillies.
James Gillies.

Abronhill man James Gillies spent all of Saturday in Glasgow’s George Square - to stage a quiet but insistent reminder of the havoc erupting in Ukraine.

It was his 28th annual vigil to mark the catastrophe of the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, but this year - given the violence and strife which has followed Russia’s annexation of the Crimea - he had extra reason for sorrow.

“I have been to the country numerous times and still hope to go back there this year,” he said.

“The contrast between the centre of Kiev now and the way it was until the recent trouble is startling.”

With him was a good friend, Orcadian Christian missionary Victor Smith, who fears children in rural areas already suffering from acute deprivation could be still more badly affected by the fallout from the Russian invasion.

“Under Yanukovich (ousted Ukraine president) the restrictions on how you could operate and take aid in were getting impossible, and we had to give up,” he said.

“Now, despite what’s happening, it could be feasible again - we’ll need to see.”

Both men have a deep love of Ukraine and its people, and are keen to remind fellow Scots that blameless citizens in the heart of supposedly civilised Europe are facing danger, turmoil, and the threat of outright civil war.

“Most people have come up to me, had a look at the Ukraine flag and the picture of children - children I know - and gone away,” said James Gillies.

“But it is important to me to maintain this vigil, particularly now when things have taken such a terrible step for the worse.

“Even if people feel they cannot do much they should be aware of what is happening.

“I plan to go back to Kiev later this year, and see ‘Pe some of the great people I know there - but in the meantime we can only watch and wait.”