A SPECIAL concert is being planned to demonstrate solidarity with Ukraine on the first anniversary weekend of the Russian invasion.

Salute Ukraine! starring Karine Polwart, Lau, Ross Ainslie, Su-a Lee and Hamish Napier will be staged at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall on February 26.

The Scots Makar Kathleen Jamie, Edinburgh Ukrainian Choir, writer James Robertson, Perthshire bard Jim Mackintosh, Crimean singing star Elzara Batalova, Ukrainian singer-songwriter Toma Butko, rising indy folk star Iona Zajac, Ukrainian opera star Oksana Mavrodii and pianist Alla Tkachenko will also appear.

Actor Mathew Zajac, who will co-host along with Tanya Balanova, said it would be a night that “should not be missed”.

“With no sign of an end to Russia’s attempt to destroy Ukraine, it is vital that we continue to support the Ukrainian people and maintain public awareness of their plight and the extraordinary bravery Ukraine continues to demonstrate in its defence of our democracy and freedom,” he said. “Salute Ukraine! is our way of doing this. We will mourn those who have been lost and we will sing for them. Scottish and Ukrainian artists will come together in a celebration of art, civilised values and defiance.”

He added: “Salute Ukraine! will acknowledge the seriousness and tragedy of this anniversary. But it will also celebrate the strength and resilience of Ukraine, its independence and its growing status as a leading defender, if not the leading defender of modern, pluralistic, democratic freedoms across the world.”

Zajac said the show’s ticket price would be kept low as it was not a fundraiser but “a coming together of many hundreds of displaced Ukrainians along with Scots in an expression of solidarity and love”.

The evening will feature video messages from the frontline and from displaced Ukrainians currently living in Scotland along with a programme of music and poetry from outstanding Ukrainian and Scottish artists.

It follows the highly successful fundraiser, With Love to Ukraine, which played to a packed Eden Court Theatre in Inverness in November and raised nearly £16,000 for charities supporting Ukraine and Ukrainians in Scotland.

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Since the invasion on February 24 last year, voluntary groups across the country have continued to organise and send aid to Ukraine, while the Scottish Government and members of the community have welcomed more than 20,000 displaced Ukrainians with shelter and safety.

AUGB Edinburgh is helping to produce the anniversary tribute and has organised and contributed to 20 lorries of aid so far to most parts of Ukraine. The concert is being supported by Edinburgh City Council and the Usher Hall.

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