London: Thousands of protesters have turned out for rallies and demonstrations against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in different parts of the UK over the weekend.

The Russian Embassy in London had eggs thrown at it and slogans scrawled with chalk calling for an end to the ongoing attacks ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Ukraine. Protests were also held outside Downing Street in London and in Manchester and Edinburgh on Saturday.

They came as western allies, including the US, UK, Canada and the European Union (EU), announced further tough sanctions against Russia to exclude Russian banks from the SWIFT banking network a measure aimed at hitting Russian oil and gas exports hard.

We have taken decisive action tonight with our international partners to shut Russia out of the global financial system, including the important first step of ejecting Russian banks from SWIFT, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

We will keep working together to ensure Putin pays the price for his aggression, he said.

Meanwhile, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said that the government would support any British citizens who wish to join the Ukrainians in their battle against the Russians, saying that it would be up to them to make their own decision .

“Absolutely, if people want to support that struggle, I would support them in doing that,” Truss told the BBC.

“The people of Ukraine are fighting for freedom and democracy… that’s what President Putin is challenging,” she said.

Ukraine’s ambassador to the UK, Vadym Prystaiko, said an “overwhelming” number of foreign nationals were “demanding to be allowed to fight” for Ukraine as the Russian invasion reached its fourth day on Sunday.

Earlier on Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called upon foreign nationals “to join the defence of security in Europe”.

He said Ukraine is setting up an “international” legion of volunteers for foreigners wishing to join the Ukrainian army in its fight against Russian forces.

“This is not just Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, this is the beginning of a war against Europe. Against European unity,” Zelensky was quoted as saying on his official website.

“Everyone who wants to join the defence of security in Europe and the world may come and stand shoulder to shoulder with Ukrainians against the invaders of the 21st Century,” he said.

UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has ruled out sending British troops on the ground, saying Ukraine would instead be supported to “fight every street with every piece of equipment we can get to them”.

According to the Kremlin, Russia has sent a delegation to Belarus for peace talks with Ukraine. But the UK rejected suggestions that negotiations could go ahead until Russian troops had withdrawn, warning of further sanctions and measures being considered against Putin and his allies.

The UK government has said it is considering measures to take in Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war zone. The devolved Scottish government has already announced that it will welcome refugees fleeing the Russian invasion.

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