A request for  Portsmouth Mayor Deaglan McEachern on a Facebook page led to the Memorial Bridge between Portsmouth and Kittery being lit in blue and yellow to show support for Ukraine Friday night.

The country was invaded by Russian troops on Tuesday and continues to take heavy air and missile attacks as ground troops move in to try and overtake cities including its capital, Kyiv. At least 1,000 have been wounded and 198 killed according to Ukraine's health minister as of Saturday morning.

The country was invaded by Russian troops on Tuesday, and continues to take heavy air and missile attacks as ground troops move in.

Facebook user Finn Lakeland, who uses the screen name Bear Mountain Barnabas, made the request of McEachern on the public Portsmouth NH Facebook page.

"We should light up the Memorial Bridge in the blue and yellow colors of the Ukrainian flag," Lakeland wrote just after midnight early Friday. The post also received much support from others on the page.

Hours after the initial post the mayor made it so, and responded that the bridge would be bathed in Ukraine colors all weekend.

"Lighting the bridge is a symbol that Portsmouth stands with the people of Ukraine as they fight to defend their home and freedom in the face of unimaginable odds. Their courage reminds us of what people are willing to do in order to be free, and we are praying for them in this struggle," McEachern told Seacoast Current.

Photographer Will Zimmerman captured the bridge in lights.

Memorial Bridge between Portsmouth and Kittery lit in the colors of the Ukranian flag before nightfall
Memorial Bridge between Portsmouth and Kittery lit in the colors of the Ukranian flag before nightfall (Will Zimmerman/@will_zimm_)
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"What better way to show our support for democracy"

McEachren thanked his staff on the Portsmouth NH Facebook page for their work, and also included a link to the official Ukraine website. The site, originally meant to promote the country, now contains information about the attack and ways to support the country, which is Europe's largest in terms of land size.

Lakeland said that using flags, or the colors of flags, has always been a way to show support.

"People show their solidarity with others with flags--we wave the flag of our country, we wave protest flags. What better way to show our support for democracy, and the liberty and freedom of the Ukrainian people, then by waving their flag?", Lakeland told Seacoast Current.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has traveled to Ukraine and was at the Munich Security Council Conference as the attack got underway. She said  that the resilience and resolve of the Ukrainian people has touched communities around the world, including Portsmouth.

"Last night, Portsmouth lit the Memorial Bridge in Ukraine’s colors as an impassioned message of support and solidarity. My thoughts are with impacted Ukrainian communities in New Hampshire and around the nation as they pray for their loved ones. The U.S. continues to stand by Ukraine in their fight for freedom, and will keep working to provide assistance in the midst of Russia’s unprovoked, premeditated war," Shaheen told Seacoast Current.

Sen. Maggie Hassan said that through the light display on the bridge, the Seacoast is sending a signal that communities across the world stand with Ukraine.

“Putin’s invasion of a sovereign nation is a threat to freedom-loving people everywhere, and it is in times like these that America must stand unified as a beacon for freedom, just as the Seacoast community is doing now," Hassan told Seacoast Current.

"I'm here"

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy showed no sign of giving up Saturday, and posted a video of himself walking around the capital city of Kyiv and telling the country that he hasn't gone anywhere.

"There's a lot of fake information online that I call on our army to lay down arms, and that there's evacuation," Zelenskyy said. "I'm here. We won't lay down our arms. We will defend our country."

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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