Ukrainian-American community, officials react to Russian invasion

A rally was held Feb. 24 at St. Josaphat’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Warren. It was one of many rallies and demonstrations held around the Detroit metro in the days before and after the invasion.

Are you a Ukrainian-American or Russian-American citizen? Share your thoughts on the situation with Editor Brian Wells at (248) 291-7637 or [email protected]

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

    On February 24, Russian forces were seen crossing the border, and less than two hours later launched a series of missile attacks against locations near Kiev and several Ukrainian towns.

On February 24, Russian forces were seen crossing the border, and less than two hours later launched a series of missile attacks against locations near Kiev and several Ukrainian towns.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

“You were hoping this wouldn’t happen…you think OK, is this just a negotiation tactic. You hold out hope that it won’t happen, but it’s safe to say a lot of people saw it coming.

Jordan Fylonenko, Communications Manager, Ukrainian-American Crisis Response Committee of Michigan

WARREN — While Warren is thousands of miles away from the sound of sirens and explosions Ukrainians woke up on Feb. 24, the growing tension of the Russia-Ukraine conflict can be felt here.

“Ukrainian-Americans watch in horror as their ancestral homeland is invaded by Kremlin forces,” Mykola Murskyj, chair of the Ukrainian-American Crisis Response Committee of Michigan, said in a statement. “There is only one aggressor in all of this: Russia. We are incredibly disturbed, saddened and angered by this senseless violence. Innocent people are losing their homes and their lives.

The attack came after months of escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine. Diplomatic efforts to resolve the tension failed.

On February 24, Russian forces were seen crossing the border, and less than two hours later launched a series of missile attacks against locations near Kiev and several Ukrainian towns.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged other nations not to intervene.

Local reaction to events abroad

Vasyl Perets, a Warren resident, employee of the Ukrainian Cultural Center and chairman of the Michigan Ukrainian Congressional Committee, emigrated from Ukraine to the United States in 1996.

“I like staying here, finding a job, getting married,” he said. “Everyone likes to come to the United States.”

Thanks to his roles in the committee and the cultural center, he knows everything about what is happening in Ukraine, he said. But if you had asked him weeks ago, he wouldn’t have believed that Russia would invade.

It would be like the United States bombing Canada, he said.

“Why? It’s neighbors, lots of families,” he said. “A lot of people who have families, siblings and everything, but the Russian government makes a decision like this.”

Perets considers himself a strong man, but he almost cried when he heard the news, he said.

“Just a few minutes ago I phoned Ukraine… We have bombs, bombs here, bombs there, people crying and children crying. 21st century, you can’t believe it.

A rally was held Feb. 24 at St. Josaphat’s Ukrainian Catholic Church in Warren. It was one of many rallies and demonstrations held around the Detroit metro in the days before and after the invasion.

Jordan Fylonenko, the communications manager for Michigan’s Ukrainian-American Crisis Response Committee, said he had “very good turnout.”

“I think it shows, first of all, the impact that the Ukrainian community has had on Detroit. The relationships that we’ve built, the institutions that we’ve built, the friendships, the bonds,” he said. declared.

Fylonenko, a resident of Livonia, has strong Ukrainian heritage. His father’s side immigrated to the United States after World War II, and his mother’s side had immigrated before that. He grew up attending Ukrainian schools and churches and being part of the Ukrainian community, including a Ukrainian dance group. Also, his wife is Ukrainian.

“My grandmother told me never to forget her mother tongue, didn’t she? »

As he watched events unfold, Fylonenko said there was a lot of uncertainty.

“You were hoping this wouldn’t happen. … You think OK, is it just a negotiation tactic,” he said. “You keep hoping it won’t happen, but it’s safe to say a lot of people saw it coming.”

Warren City Council Passes Resolution in Support of Ukraine

Prior to the invasion, as tensions rose, the Warren City Council passed a resolution at the February 22 meeting in favor of a democratic Ukraine.

“There is a large Ukrainian population in the city,” said Warren City Council Speaker Patrick Green. “Many of them are friends, and when one people, country or group is bullied by another, threatened by another, I think it is our duty as citizens of the country and residents of the city to show our support.”

Green hopes that by sending copies of the resolution to US senators and members of Congress, it will help tell them that this is an important issue for their constituents.

“When you pass a resolution like this, you are demonstrating that the third largest city in the state stands with the people of Ukraine and we want our federal leaders to see that and take the necessary and careful steps to protect life and stop the aggression,” he added. he said. “Stopping the aggression can be done through protests, it can be through resolutions like we did.”

Green hopes other cities will also voice their support.

Fylonenko said his organization has had productive conversations with other local officials.

“The support has been very, very touching,” he said.

It’s history in the making, Green said.

“These are things that we read. For most of us, that’s history,” Green said. “Now we see it and it’s menacing and scary.”

how to help

For those unable to attend the rallies, there are other ways to get involved and send aid and support to Ukraine.

Donations for humanitarian aid, medical equipment and unused and lightly used items can be sent to the Ukrainian military and Ukrainian citizens.

There are three 501(c)(3) organizations that Fylonenko suggested donating to:

• Ukrainian American Congress Committee, www.ucca.org.

• United Ukrainian American Relief Committee, www.uuarc.org.

• Razom Emergency Fund, razomforukraine.org/razom-emergency-response.

Additionally, residents can contact their representatives to demand a firm response to what happened.

“It’s important,” Fylonenko said.

Are you a Ukrainian-American or Russian-American citizen? Share your thoughts on the situation with editor Brian Wells at (248) 291-7637 or [email protected]


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