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Demonstrators march for Ukraine on Sunday at Phoenix's Ukrainian Cultural Center

Ukraine march Phoenix
Posted at 11:14 AM, Feb 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-27 19:51:19-05

PHOENIX — Hundreds of Arizonans marched along 7th Avenue in solidarity of Ukraine. Pleading for peace from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Leading a march of hundreds 8-year-old Sasha and her 5-year-old sister, Angelina. Held a yellow sign with three little words: 'Protect My Grandma'.

Sasha said she wrote the sign because, "my grandma right now is in Ukraine and I really want the war to stop. I hope that she lives."

Nadia, the mother of the girls, has lived in Arizona for 16 years. But her family is in the heart of the chaos in Ukraine.

"My mom and their grandma is still in Kyiv on the 9th floor of a nine-story building and we're worried about her sick day and night," said Nadia Berg.

"A couple of days ago during the nighttime, there was some shooting right by my mom's house, where I grew up. She could see tanks driving by her window," said Berg. "I mean of course you get a phone call at 1:30 a.m. and that's what's happening and you're trying to reach your mother and see how she's doing."

Before Ukraine was invaded by Russia, Victor Szwez, President of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Saint Mary's Protector, thought a handful of supporters would come to Sunday's event.

"An email that I had sent out that had 10 shares, had 150 shares," said Szwez.

Instead, Sunday's march was met with prayers, honking cars and national anthems.

"So many other countries in the world where people come out, outside and they show we don't want armed conflicts," said Berg. "We don't want politician games; we don't want any of that! We want to live!"

Lana and Yeva Holden moved to Phoenix from Ukraine eight years ago to escape Russian terrorism, but their family is still living in the eastern part of Ukraine.

"I was little but it's still my home and I remember everything the way it was like sitting at home and hearing the planes fly and the bombs crash," said Yeva.

"We're scared for our families there," said Lana.

New Arizonan, Damien Rodriguez is answering the call for his family. He served for the Ukrainian Marines as a contracted soldier. His Ukrainian wife and son are still there. He plans to leave Monday and serve and fight for the country and his family.

"I'll be flying to Poland and crossing the border into Ukraine and helping there in all capacities," said Rodriguez.

Leaders of Sunday's rally pushed for local, state and federal leaders to support Ukraine.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey reacted on social media saying in part, "President Zelensky and his countrymen are putting up a valiant, noble and worthwhile fight. Arizona, our nation and countries around the world are watching this incredible determination and bravery — and we are standing with Ukraine."