Ukraine's sunflower becomes worldwide symbol of solidarity and peace amid Russian invasion

These towering blooms have emerged as a sign of resistance.

russia ukraine war sunflower becomes symbol of solidarity  peace
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The sunflower has been Ukraine's national flower for a long time, but it has swiftly become a worldwide symbol of solidarity for the country and its people since the Russian invasion began.

Last week, rows of sunflowers were seen lining barricades at the Russian embassy in West London as sign of peace, while over in Ukraine's Henychesk region, one woman was filmed telling a Russian soldier to put sunflower seeds in his pocket so that flowers will grow there when he dies – and it has since been viewed 8.6 million times.

'Take these seeds and put them in your pockets so at least sunflowers will grow when you all lie down here,' said the Ukrainian lady. 'Put the sunflower seeds in your pockets, please. You will lie down here with the seeds. You came to my land. Do you understand? You are occupiers. You are enemies.'

Artists around the world have been posting sunflower art with hashtags including #sunflowersforukraine to show solidarity with civilians in a powerful display of artistic expression. Meanwhile, Twitter and Instagram users have been adding sunflower emojis to their usernames as a subtle nod of support as Russia continues its devastating war on Ukraine.

In America, First Lady Jill Biden showed her support for Ukraine by wearing a face mask embroidered with a sunflower during an event at The White House, while in City Plaza in Reno, Nevada, residents gathered to add sunflowers to a 'Believe' sculpture to express their support for the country.

jill biden wears sunflower mask in support of ukraine
Jill Biden wears sunflower face mask
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ukraine supporter adds sunflowers to a sculpture in nevada
Supporter adds sunflowers to a sculpture
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Locals gather in the City plaza in Reno, Nevada, to add sunflowers to sculptures and express their support for Ukraine
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Meanwhile, over in the UK, Prince Charles and Camilla placed sunflowers on the altar during a visit to the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in London with Ukraine's Ambassador to the UK, Vadym Prystaiko.

And at demonstrations in the city, supporters have been draped in the blue and yellow national flag of Ukraine, carrying sunflowers and wearing sunflower crowns in protests against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall lay sunflowers at the altar during visit to the Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral
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Protesters take the Ukrainian flag emblazoned with sunflowers to Downing Street
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This isn't the first time the sunflower has been used as a symbol of peace. Back in June 1966, US, Russian and Ukrainian defence ministers planted sunflowers in a ceremony at Ukraine's Pervomaysk missile base to mark Ukraine giving up nuclear weapons.

Sunflowers have been grown in Ukraine since the 1700s (the country is also the world's major supplier of sunflower oil). According to historical records, the sunflower became deeply embedded in the Ukrainian culture when the church didn't ban its oil during Lent — a time of abstinence. Since then, sunflower oil has become an important aspect of daily life in Ukraine, with many civilians growing the golden flowers in their gardens and eating their seeds as a snack.

A sunflower field in Vinnytsia region, Ukraine
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Members of the Ukrainian community and supporters protest against the continuing attack by Russia
Jenny Matthews

Demonstrator hands out sunflower pins at rally against the Russian invasion
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The vibrant and cheerful blooms with bright, yellow petals and tall green stems might be the quintessential summer flower adorning British gardens from summer right through to autumn, but they've now taken on a global symbol of solidarity, hope and strength.

How to help

There are lots of charities taking donations to help Ukrainians. Please see a recommended list below:

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