A Russian origin artist has called for peace regarding the Russian attacks against Ukraine at an art fair in the Turkish capital Ankara.

“We hope that these attacks will end immediately and not last for long. We want these aggressive movements to end immediately,” Aleksandr Melnykov told Anadolu Agency at the ArtAnkara Contemporary Art Fair.

Melnykov, who was born in Russia and received education in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, said they had to leave their homes. It was very difficult to describe the situation and believe what was happening in his country.

“When the attacks started, we were at my art office in Kyiv on Feb. 24.

We thought it would be safer there,” he said, adding that they hid in a shelter with his wife after Russia intensified the attacks on Ukraine.

Melnykov, who stayed in the shelter for about a week, received an invitation from his friends in Turkiye to attend the art fair and to continue his work safely during the war. He arrived in Ankara with his wife and three cats after a 7-day journey.

Melnykov, whose paintings were exhibited at the stand of the Tree of Science Foundation, placed the Ukrainian flag in front of his works.

“We were kept waiting at the border for almost a day. The longest line is to Romania. We were very happy when we came here and saw this magnificent organization. We met with our old friends, artists, painters,” he added.

Since Russia launched its war on Ukraine, more than 2.69 million people have fled to other countries, according to UN estimates.

At least 596 civilians have also been killed and 1,067 injured in Ukraine, it said.

While the European Union, US, and others have imposed sanctions on Moscow, many companies and global brands have also suspended operations in Russia.

*Writing by Gozde Bayar

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