Around 60 people gathered outside Chesterfield Town Hall on Sunday to say ‘no to war’.
Mick Wall, of the Chesterfield Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), sent solidarity to the people of Ukraine.
He claimed the possibility of nuclear war was ‘the greatest it has been for decades’.
“CND is calling for the withdrawal of all troops and a return to the negotiating table,” he added.
“Further escalation could be disastrous for us all.”
But military experts pointed out his announcement does not mean Russia intends to use its nuclear weapons.
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said Putin was trying to distract people from ‘what's going wrong in Ukraine’ – as Ukrainians put up a ‘very strong fight’.
He added that Britain was also a nuclear power and that its deterrent had ‘kept our security for decades’.
Barbara Sansome, of Stand Up To Racism, urged the UK Government to ‘open our borders to welcome refugees from Ukraine and stop their restrictive approach’.
According to the Home Office, 50 Ukrainians have so far been granted visas under a scheme for refugees with family links to the UK. Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was ‘doing everything possible’ to speed up efforts.
Jan Gentle, from Chesterfield’s Quaker community, called for peace and urged all Governments to act with humanity and compassion.
James Eaden, of the Stop the War Coalition, spoke about the need to oppose the ‘many imperialist interventions of Russia and of Western Governments’.
He praised anti-war protesters in Russia who face instant arrest and possibly long prison sentences.
“Anti-war voices across the world need to be heard,” he added.
Campaigner Jeannie Robinson, who attended the protest – which was called at short notice – said: “It was part of a global day of action, calling for an immediate end to war, for Russian troops to leave the Ukraine and an end to NATO expansion in Eastern Europe.
“One family attending were so horrified by the war that they had searched online to find a peace event they could attend.
“Each of their two small children had designed and made a peace placard.”