Waving signs that said “Hands off Ukraine” and “Stop Putin” hundreds of Ukrainian-Americans and supporters gathered at the corner of Harbor Drive and Ash Street demanding peace for the war-torn country on Saturday.
“Mr. Putin needs to be stopped,” said Alex Dovgl, Ukrainian-American. “We don't want to have war. We are Ukrainians and want to have our country protected.”
Alex is now living in the U.S. but most of his family is still in Ukraine.
“My grandmother, my grandfather, my family, they are in huge danger,” said Dovgl. “There was a huge battle that happened at night and we don't know exactly the result of the battle and it's terrible.”
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Like Alex, many of the people here grew up in Ukraine but came to the U.S. for a better life. They say they worry about those left behind.
“It's been the hardest to hear all the news and what's happening in our homeland,” said Yuliya Heckert, Ukrainian-American. “We are here to support any way that we can our families that are back home.”
Heckert says she’s been trying to maintain constant communication with her family back in Ukraine.
“They sometimes have to hide underground, so when they have a connection they call us and let us know they are okay,” said Heckert. “I mean okay as you can be at this stage.”
Supporters wrapped in flags and dressed in Ukrainian blue and yellow marched down Harbor Drive pleading for the community’s help. Cars driving by honked waved and shouted messages of support to the group.
Also in the crowd were Russian-Americans, condemning Putin’s actions.
“Vladimir Putin is a killer, obviously,” said Igor Galdky, Russian-American. “He’s like the Hitler of the 21st century. We should stop Putin and stop Russian aggression.”
Uniting as one to stand with Ukraine in their darkest hour.