US rallies in support of Ukraine: “The whole world now needs to unite”

Crowds gathered Saturday in cities including Atlanta, Washington, D.C. and New York — Olga Lydigina told CNN at a rally in Times Square that she hadn’t slept for the past three nights. Lydygina, who is from Kiev, told CNN that her friends in Ukraine stayed up nights, too. but they Making homemade bombs To try to stop the Russian tanks.

Lydygina was crying, watching the news and trying to contact her loved ones who remained in Ukraine. She said it was a stark contrast to what you see in New York. She told CNN that on Saturday she saw people sitting and eating in restaurants who “didn’t think war could reach their homes.”

But she said the peace is fragile.

“I think the whole world now needs to come together,” Lydigina said, adding, “Now is the time to say no and stop one person who fears the whole world.”

Since the start of the Russian offensive at dawn Thursday, Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians fled their homesdepending for United Nations numbers. But Ukraine remained defiantPresident Volodymyr Zelensky urged citizens to help defend their country. Early on Sunday, the capital Kiev remained under Ukrainian control, while fighting erupted in the streets of Kharkiv, the country’s second largest city.

“Every Ukrainian should keep one thing in mind: If you can stop and destroy the occupiers – do it,” Zelensky said in a video message on Saturday. “Whoever can return to Ukraine – come back to defend Ukraine.”

Similar determination was seen among Ukrainian Americans and their allies in the United States as they demanded more measures to support Ukraine and her superior army. Western countries imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia in response to the invasion, On Friday, the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union imposed sanctions on President Vladimir Putin himself.

But some Ukrainian supporters, such as Merrick Brown, whose ancestors came from Ukraine to the United States, believe there is more to be done.

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“I think the United States and NATO should provide military assistance to Ukraine,” Brown, who also attended the Times Square rally, told CNN. He described the demonstration as peaceful and “more pro-Ukrainian than anti-Russian.”

‘Pray for Ukraine’

In downtown Atlanta, dozens of people gathered for a “Stand with Ukraine” rally. Some of those present wore blue and yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag, while others carried banners reading “Pray for Ukraine” and “Ukrainians unite!” They sing the Ukrainian national anthem.

For a Ukrainian-American family, it's a mixture of anger, fear and regret
Among them was the Ukrainian Anton Kilba. Kilpa said his parents live in Kiev Tell CNN’s WGCL. He learned the invasion had begun when a Ukrainian-Canadian friend called him earlier this week, right before bed, telling him to call his parents right away.

“It was hard to believe,” Kelpa told WGCL. “It was a new reality.”

Joshua Hill, an attendee in Atlanta, has no personal contact with Ukraine, but told CNN via Twitter that he joined because “Ukraine needs the world’s support.”

“Our leaders are not doing enough,” Hill said. “I’m here to show support for further action by the US government, NATO and all of Ukraine’s allies.”

Protesters gather in support of Ukraine in Atlanta on Saturday, February 26, 2022.

I just wanted to show my support and solidarity

In Washington, D.C., another crowd demonstrated in front of the White House.

Many of the attendees waved Ukrainian flags or had them draped over their shoulders, chanting “Stop Putin now.”

People take part in a pro-Ukraine rally in front of the White House to protest the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 26 in Washington, DC.
Other signs called for stronger consequences, Like expelling Russia From Association for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT)A high safety net connecting thousands of financial institutions around the world. saturday evening, The White House and the European Union announced the expulsion of selected Russian banks from the SWIFT system.

One protester, JB Wheeler, told CNN he was “just an interested citizen” and had no personal ties to Ukraine. “No family or friends, just human contact and a desire to support the Ukrainians and their struggle,” Wheeler said.

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A few miles from the gathering outside the White House, Georgetown University graduate student Eleanor Shiuri Hughes left flowers on the steps of Ukraine’s embassy, ​​where a sign read “Long live a free Ukraine.”

Flowers are seen on the stairs of the Embassy of Ukraine in Washington on February 26.

She also had no contact with Ukraine.

“I just wanted to show my support and solidarity to the Ukrainian people,” Hughes said.

This solidarity was demonstrated in ways other than protest: Across the country, buildings were lit up blue and yellow to signify support for Ukrainians. Including State capitals in New York and Colorado, Along with Atlanta City Council.

“We know that freedom, democracy and independence are a light to the world,” Colorado Governor Jared Polis said in a statement.

“We are proud to fling the colors of the Ukrainian flag across our state capitol as we continue to support and pray for the brave Ukrainian people during this dark time,” he said.

‘The world needs to move’

Similar demonstrations took place in a number of cities on Friday.

in Nashville, CNN’s WTVF reported Dozens of protesters gathered on the steps of the Tennessee State Capitol that morning.

“Penalties are not enough,” he wrote on one of the banners, per WTVF per shot. Another: “The world needs to act now.”

Attendee Alyssa Kaiser told the station that most of the protesters may have had family in Ukraine. “They’re glad we weren’t there, because we’re safe here,” she said. “But all you want is to be with them to support them.”

She added, “We need to make sure this doesn’t go further than it already is… It has gone too far.”

Indiana University Bloomington students also organized a Friday rally, Per WRTV affiliate company. One of the participants was Irina Voloshinra, an international student whose parents and sister remained in Ukraine. She told the station that she hadn’t slept much because she was afraid to wake up to the bad news.

“It is heartbreaking to see my country being invaded,” Voloshinra told WRTV.

More than a thousand demonstrators marched on Michigan Avenue in Chicago on Friday evening as Kiev resisted the advance of Russian forces, According to a report by WLS subsidiary. The city boasts a large Ukrainian community.

Anatoly Mashak told the station that the situation in Ukraine was “unpredictable”.

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“They are under siege now,” he said.

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