NB Ukrainian community mobilizes to support beleaguered homeland
About 150 members of the Ukrainian community in Saint John gathered on Saturday to ask government officials for more help to Ukraine in repelling a Russian invasion.
Rally organizer Oksana Posatska and others, many holding signs, stood outside Saint John City Hall.
Posatska came to Canada seven years ago from the city of Lviv, located near the border with Poland. Thousands of Ukrainian refugees are fleeing the country in this direction.
She has a family in Saint John. For her, the situation in her native country is heartbreaking.
“We come together today to make our voices heard loud and clear,” she said. “We demand action from our local governments.”
Posatska said the community demanded action to help the Ukrainian people, such as tougher sanctions against Russia that would include banning the country from the SWIFT banking system.
“We need NATO to close the skies over Ukraine to protect and shelter Ukraine… It’s the least we can do as Ukrainians.”
The Ukrainian people “are unbreakable”, said Svetlana Palahuta.
“He keeps his mind clear. Don’t panic. They know they’re going to win.” pic.twitter.com/C9V3X5ob9E
The conflict may be taking place all over the world, but Posatska and the community feel the urgent need to respond to calls for help from Ukrainian leaders.
“We are so far from Ukraine,” she said. “But we can ask for help. We can put pressure on our local governments, on our local politicians.
“This is not the civilized world we want to raise our children in.”
Renata Yehia wears traditional Ukrainian flowers to show support for her country
“I try to hold back my emotions and keep my prayers down,” she said. pic.twitter.com/yqpEC9Y4tE
Since the invasion began on Thursday, Ukrainian communities across the province have rallied with anti-war messages.
More than 100 Ukrainian Canadians gathered outside Moncton City Hall on Thursday. There was a small rally in front of Fredericton City Hall on Friday.
Other rallies are planned for this weekend in the region and across the country.
Government officials such as Education Minister Dominic Cardy, Liberal MP Jenica Atwin, Green Party Leader David Coon and Fredericton Mayor Kate Rogers were due to attend a vigil outside Fredericton City Hall later Saturday .