Ukraine invasion: Why sunflower emojis are trending online

·Environment Editor
·3-min read

There’s a serious reason sunflowers are blooming across the internet this week.

Social media users are using the emojis to show their solidarity with Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.

Media intelligence group Meltwater Australia revealed a 36 per cent increase in use of the sunflower over the last week, when compared to the previous seven days.

Sunflower emojis are being used on social media to show solidarity with Ukraine. Source: Getty / Apple
Sunflower emojis are being used on social media to show solidarity with Ukraine. Source: Getty / Apple

The trend was observed across international sites including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, Twitch, Pinterest, Youtube, Douyin, Sina Weibo and WeChat.

Analysts found the emoji is most commonly used with the hashtags #standwithukraine and #slavaukraini.

Lightning bolt most commonly used Ukraine conflict emoji

The use of emojis have become a common tool of expression during the invasion of Ukraine.

The lightning bolt, also known as high voltage, has become the most used symbol in tweets about the invasion.

A graph shows the increase use of the sunflower emoji on social media. Source: Getty / Meltwater
Meltwater has mapped increased use of the sunflower emoji on social media over 30 days. Source: Getty / Meltwater

The most likely scenario is that the lightning bolt trend grew from use by journalists at the The Kyiv Independent and Kyiv Post.

Reporters on the ground have been using it on Twitter to highlight the importance of breaking news over regular tweets.

Meltwater has counted the symbol in around half a million tweets about the conflict over the last week.

The company also analysed themes trending in relation to the invasion, with "prayers", "unprovoked", "invasion", and "children" among some of the most commonly used words.

Significance of sunflower in Ukraine

Ukraine grows more sunflower seed than any other nation, and it is also the county’s national flower.

Some high-profile Twitter users have added the emoji to their bios as a means of showing solidarity with the nation.

The trend appears to have been adopted after a video showing an elderly Ukrainian woman handing sunflower seeds to Russian soldiers went viral in late February.

Calling the invaders “fascists”, she tells them to place the seed in their pockets so flowers will grow when they die on Ukrainian soil.

After being told not to escalate the situation further, the woman further insults them.

“How can it be further escalated? You came here uninvited. Pieces of sh**,” she says.

Protesters carry sunflowers during Russia protests

Social media isn’t the only place sunflowers have been sprouting.

Protesters across the globe have been carrying bouquets, wearing them in their hair and drawing them on placards.

Protesters around the globe have used the sunflower to show support to Ukraine. Source: Reuters
Protesters around the globe have used the sunflower to show support to Ukraine. Source: Reuters

Russia’s embassy in London, which has been the site of demonstrations, has been plastered with a number of signs which include sunflower images.

Civilian death toll rises amid Putin's invasion

Inside Ukraine, locals have taken up arms to support the military in fighting off President Vladimir Putin's unprovoked invasion.

Meltwater has mapped words trending on social media in relation to the invasion of Ukraine. Source: Meltwater / Getty
Meltwater has mapped words trending on social media in relation to the invasion of Ukraine. Source: Meltwater / Getty

More than 350 civilians, including 14 children, have been killed, and over 1600 injured since Russia's advance began, according to Al Jazeera.

Despite being outnumbered and outgunned, Ukrainians have continued to hold off invading forces.

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