Berlin and Paris illuminate buildings in Ukrainian colours in show of unity

BERLIN (Reuters) -The German capital lit up the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin's most famous landmark in blue and yellow, the national colours of Ukraine, on Wednesday evening in a show of unity with Kyiv as the crisis with Russia deepens.

In Paris, authorities lit City Hall, seat of the mayor and local administration, in the same colours to also show their support.

Berlin, which represented the front line during the Cold War until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, was sending a clear signal for a free and sovereign Ukraine, said its government.

"We are showing our solidarity with the people of Ukraine, the many Berliners with Ukrainian roots but also with the many Russians who want peace in Russia and Ukraine," Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey said in a statement.

"They all want nothing more than an end to the escalation and a peaceful settlement to this threatening conflict," she added.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, also a candidate in France's upcoming presidential election, said earlier on Wednesday "once again, the spectre of war looms on Europe's doorstep."

Ukraine declared a state of emergency on Wednesday and told its citizens in Russia to flee, while Moscow began evacuating its Kyiv embassy as fears rise of a Russian military onslaught.

(Additional reporting by Tassilo Hummel in ParisWriting by Madeline ChambersEditing by Alexandra Hudson)