UKRAINIAN President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on people around the world to come “to your squares, your streets” to stand with Ukraine in a day of anti-war protests. 

He said in a video address shot near the presidential offices in Kyiv that the war “breaks my heart, the hearts of all Ukrainians and every free person on the planet”. He called for people to visibly show their support for Ukraine starting from Thursday 24 March, exactly one month after Russia launched its invasion.

Speaking in English, he said: “Come from your offices, your homes, your schools and universities. Come in the name of peace. Come with Ukrainian symbols to support Ukraine, to support freedom, to support life.

“Come to your squares, your streets. Make yourselves visible and heard. Say that people matter. Freedom matters. Peace matters. Ukraine matters”.

On Wednesday, on the eve of a Nato summit in Brussels, Zelenskyy called on the alliance to provide “effective and unrestricted” support to Ukraine, including any weapons the country needs to fend off the Russian invasion.

“We ask that the alliance declare that it will fully assist Ukraine to win this war, clear our territory of the invaders and restore peace in Ukraine,” he said.

Zelenskyy will speak to the Nato summit by video, the president’s office said.

He appealed to Western countries to stay united in the face what he says are Russia’s efforts to “lobby its interests” with “some partners” to bring them over to its side.

“We will see who is a friend, who is a partner and who has sold out and betrayed us,” he said in an emotional speech. “Together we should not allow Russia to break anyone in NATO, the EU or G7, to break them and drag them to the side of war".

Switching to Russian, Zelenskyy appealed to Russians “to leave Russia so as not to give your tax money to the war”. Tens of thousands of Russians already have fled Russia since the war began, fearing the intensifying crackdown at home.

In Edinburgh, a peaceful gathering is planned for 5.30pm on Thursday 24 March at The Mound, organised by the organisation Help Ukraine Scotland. For further details, visit their Facebook event here.