As Ukrainians continue to battle to defend their homeland from the Russian military aggression, all family members in the US can do is hope for the best….reports Reena Bhardwaj
As the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues to evolve rapidly, Ukrainians rallied in front of the White House in Washington DC, on Sunday to support their native country.
Draped in Ukraine’s blue and yellow coloured flag and waving the country’s national banner, protesters carried signs condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin’s attempts to topple the Ukrainian government.
Many attendees expressed their love for their Ukrainian homeland. Some argued for more U.S. involvement in the conflict. Some vented their anger and called for harsher penalties against Putin. Other protesters wanted to make sure that the public’s awareness of the war didn’t fade.
Yevgeniy Shaporynskyy a Ukrainian American, also a member of the US Ukrainian Activist group that helped set up the rally, said Sunday’s event was the largest protest the organizers had seen since they started holding daily rallies after the Russian invasion. Frustrated about other nations not doing enough for the people of Ukraine, Shaporynskyy said,”This is no time for politics.”
The organizers at the rally say there are yet a whole bunch of things that need to happen regarding the war in Ukraine: create a no-fly zone for Ukraine, increase military and financial aid to Ukraine, and guarantee security for Ukraine with “internationally recognized borders.”
Alexander Zakharin who drove to the rally from New York, stood in front of the White House fence holding a placard that said, “I’m Russian and I am against this war.” Born and raised in Russia, Zakharin strongly expressed his concern over the escalation and said he by all means opposed to Putin’s actions in Ukraine.
“I am half Ukrainian, but born and raised in Russia, my girlfriend is from Ukraine and I’m here to support Ukraine and the people of Ukraine,” Zakharin told ANI.
At least 368,000 people have already fled their homes in Ukraine, according to the UN refugee agency, and more than 4.5 million more could follow if the fighting spreads, Ukrainian authorities have said, with reports of tens of thousands on the move within the country itself. But Ukraine has remained defiant, and President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged citizens to help defend their country. Early Sunday, the capital city Kyiv remained under Ukrainian control, while fighting had broken out on the streets of Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city.
“Each Ukrainian should keep one thing in mind: if you can stop and destroy the occupiers — do it,” Zelensky said in a video message Saturday. “Everyone who can come back to Ukraine — come back to defend Ukraine.”
The scene in Lafayette Square Park, just outside the White House fence, was one of solidarity and resistance as many attendees said they were fearful for their relatives and friends in Ukraine but felt a renewed sense of hope as more countries have ramped up support for the country.
Another attendee standing with his wife and his toddler in front of the White House echoed the defiant spirit of his fellow Ukrainians. Even though he says many like him are devastated to witness many Ukrainian lives lost, the strong-willed Ukrainian says, “We will never give up, we will keep fighting until this war stops.”
“We Ukrainian people don’t want to give up this fight for our motherland” “The whole point of the march is to feel union and show union, demonstrate that we’re strong, we’re together, that we’re going to be okay,” the protestor added.
As Ukrainians continue to battle to defend their homeland from the Russian military aggression, all family members in the US can do is hope for the best. For now, families are trying to donate money and supplies, desperately seeking advice from immigration attorneys about how to get family into the U.S., and pleading for world leaders to intervene more forcefully. (ANI)