Eiffel Tower lit up and Trafalgar Square vigil for Ukraine war anniversary

Landmarks glow in blue and yellow throughout Europe as people gather at London site to mark year since Russia invaded neighbour

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People draped in Ukrainian flags gathered at a vigil in London and Paris lit up the Eiffel Tower in blue and yellow on Thursday, as the world marks a year of war between Ukraine and Russia.

The biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since the Second World War began on February 24, 2022, when Russia invaded Ukraine by land, air and sea.

While Ukraine and the West call the invasion an unprovoked land grab, Russia explains its actions as "a special military operation".

"There will be a life after this war, because Ukraine will win," Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said before the Eiffel Tower was lit up to show solidarity with Ukraine.

"I think no one will run out of this fierce desire for freedom, for Europe, for democracy that the Ukrainians are showing."

In Brussels, EU buildings including those of the European Parliament and Commission, were similarly lit up in the colours of the Ukrainian flag.

In London, people draped in Ukrainian flags and holding banners — including one that said "Put Putin in the bin", in a reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin — gathered at Trafalgar Square for a vigil.

One year of the Russia-Ukraine war — in pictures

"Tomorrow is the anniversary of the full-scale invasion of Russia into my country, this is why I thought I just can't stay home," said Olena Iliuk, 18.

Ukraine had success with counter-offensives in late 2022 to seize much of the territory it lost earlier, and the war has settled into one of attritional trench warfare and rising losses on both sides.

Russia controls about a fifth of Ukraine a year on.

Updated: February 24, 2023, 4:52 AM