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Local Ukrainians unite in solidarity for country & family members

Posted at 5:56 PM, Feb 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-24 20:01:02-05

TEMPE — The Ukrainian community is coming together to support their homeland as well as each other.

A group of Ukrainians and supporters gathered Thursday at the corner of Mill Avenue and University Drive in Tempe to protest Russia's invasion and to show solidarity for their country.

Nadia Berg helped organize the event. Her mother and youngest sister are in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine.

"This is horrible. Our families are there. Little kids are there. We're watching videos, posts. It's unbelievable, in the heart of Europe," she said. "Like last night — I did not sleep at all. how can you sleep? How can you sleep knowing that there are airplanes flying and dropping bombs in the city where your family is, your friends?"

Many Ukrainians in the Valley have many family members back in Ukraine.

"To support my country and to support all the people who want to leave peacefully," said Mariya Mariychuk.

At Saint Mary's Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Phoenix, members are praying for the safety of their families.

Christine Boyko is first generation American, born to Ukrainian parents. She's a member of St. Mary's Orthodox Church and a lifetime member of the Ukrainian National Women's League.

"It has been nerve-racking to say the least. We were sort of hoping that it wouldn't happen knowing full well it would most likely happen with the troops surrounding Ukraine. Unfortunately, the most horrible thing that we couldn't have imagined has happened and is happening currently," said Boyko.

She has family in the city of Lviv in western Ukraine. She spoke to them Thursday morning.

"Cool, calm and collected it seems but I could tell on his face that it was extremely disheartening and scary for them," she said.

There will be an event in support of Ukraine on Sunday at the Ukrainian Cultural Center at 730 W. Elm St. in Phoenix.

They will meet at the center from noon to 1:30 p.m. to make signs. The march will be from 1:30 - 2:30 p.m. from the Ukrainian Cultural Center to the corner of 7th Avenue and Camelback Road.