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Thousands of Ukrainian women march against domestic violence

Thousands of women marched through the center of Ukraine's capital on International Women's Day to draw attention to domestic violence, which has risen sharply amid restrictions imposed to block the spread of coronavirus.

Many of those in the Monday march in Kyiv held flowers and wore traditional Ukrainian national costumes.

“The purpose of the march is to draw public attention to how the situation of women has deteriorated, especially during the pandemic,” said Daria Mizina, an Amnesty International Ukraine activist.

Women attend a rally on the occasion of the International Women's Day in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 8, 2021. Posters read "Equal rights". Millions across the globe are marking International Women's Day by demanding a gender-balanced world amid persistent salary gap, violence and widespread inequality. (AP PhotoEfrem Lukatsky)

During the pandemic, cases of domestic violence in Ukraine increased by almost half. Over the past year, the police received 174,386 statements of domestic violence.

The marchers demanded Ukraine’s ratification of the Istanbul Convention, a Council of Europe measure to combat violence against women.

Women attend a rally on the occasion of the International Women's Day in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 8, 2021. A banner reads "Ratify the Istanbul Conference". Millions across the globe are marking International Women's Day by demanding a gender-balanced world amid persistent salary gap, violence and widespread inequality. (AP PhotoEfrem Lukatsky)

Activists dressed as women historical figures hold portraits of outstanding women in history at a rally on the occasion of the International Women's Day in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 8, 2021. Millions across the globe are marking International Women's Day by demanding a gender-balanced world amid persistent salary gap, violence and widespread inequality. (AP PhotoEfrem Lukatsky)

Women shouts slogans at a rally on the occasion of the International Women's Day in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 8, 2021. Millions across the globe are marking International Women's Day by demanding a gender-balanced world amid persistent salary gap, violence and widespread inequality. (AP PhotoEfrem Lukatsky)

Women attend a rally on the occasion of the International Women's Day in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 8, 2021. Millions across the globe are marking International Women's Day by demanding a gender-balanced world amid persistent salary gap, violence and widespread inequality. (AP PhotoEfrem Lukatsky)