Hundreds gathered Thursday outside the legislative building in Regina to rally and show their support for Ukraine.
“We aren’t experiencing the missiles the bombing, but we can certainly help to come together.”
She says the events playing out in Ukraine are unbearable to the point where only so much can be watched on TV.
“Some have closer Ukrainian roots, some have far back, some don’t have any at all, some are here in the name of freedom,” she said.
Terry Kuzyk, president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Regina Branch, says the rally is to show support for Ukraine in addition to raising awareness.
“Putin has to be stopped — the world knows that, Russian people know that,” Kuzyk said.
“We need to bring awareness, to bring support, and next we are going to be waiting for Ukrainians to come here to Canada.
“People come together; this is what we do. Every country has to be concerned.”
While the bullets and rockets of Russia’s invasion in Eastern Europe are than 8,000 kilometres away, the pain is still felt right here in Saskatchewan.
Another rally participant, Natalie Velychko, says she has friends on the front lines as we speak.
“Right now, half of my friends are at the front,” she said. “They are protecting my country (Ukraine).”
Lavifia says the situation can change quickly, and it’s important to keep in constant contact with loved ones.
“My family is in Western Ukraine, the sirens are now in the hearing distance, so they are no longer safe, so I am greatly concerned,” said Lavifia.
The indescribable emotions being felt by the Ukrainian community in Saskatchewan have caused many sleepless nights.
“Up at 3 a.m., you are reading the news to make sure your friends and family are still alive, with a text to make sure they say OK, then you can go back to sleep,” said Velychko.
“Yesterday I couldn’t do anything other than cry,” added Lavifia. “Ukraine will stand for itself.”
Rally held at the University of Saskatchewan
That support was also seen at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) Thursday.
A rally was held on campus with people praying and singing the Ukrainian National anthem.
The Ukrainian student association organized the rally to raise awareness and collect donations.
USask Ukrainian Student Association (USUSA) president Jenson Beaudoin says he was overwhelmed by the support at the turnout, and was happy to see so many.
“I have no other words other than the feeling of warmth and pride seeing everybody here today,” Beaudoin said.
“It’s amazing how we can all come together in something so horrible and brutal and be able to stand there together.”
The Russian invasion of Ukraine is in its eighth day, and there has been no official word from Russian officials when the fighting will end.