Around 150 Russians living in Cyprus, along with Cypriots, demonstrated in support of their country on Saturday at the central Foinikoudes area in the coastal city of Larnaca, Euronews reported.
They chanted slogans such as “Down with NATO”, “Russia we are at your side” and “Russia save the planet”.
The protestors also complained of media misinformation and propaganda about the war and “Ukrainian crimes in the Donbass area.”
The protest was organised by the Russian Compatriots of Cyprus Coordination Council.
There are more than 18,000 Russians and more than 4,600 Ukrainians living on the island, according to official Cypriot government statistics.
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, which has triggered Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II, with more than 3.8 million Ukrainians leaving the country, and millions more internally displaced.
Russian President Vladimir Putin says that the objective of the war in Ukraine is the “demilitarisation and denazification” of the Ukrainian government.
He claims that Kiev has been carrying out a “genocide” against the Russian-speaking population of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, collectively known as the Donbass, where the Ukrainian army has been fighting Russia-backed separatists since 2014.
Russia has been arguing that what was happening to the residents of the Donbas region was a genocide, and it had a responsibility to step in and help them.
“Mass civilian causalities in any form demand our attention. That said, genocide carries a particular weight due to the international community’s moral and legal obligation to prevent it,” Alexander Hinton, director of the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights at Rutgers University, told Al Jazeera.
On February 16, the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation opened a criminal case over four mass graves discovered in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, pledging to investigate whether what happened in the area was a genocide.
“How else can one interpret the shelling of residential areas by Ukrainian Armed Forces using multiple rocket launchers or the discovered mass grave sites of almost 300 civilians near Lugansk, who were killed only because they considered Russian as their native language?” Anatoly Antonov, Russian ambassador to the United States, wrote on Facebook, using a Russian spelling of the region’s name and accusing Washington of willfully supporting genocide in Donbass.
American officials have repeatedly brushed off Moscow’s claims as propaganda.