Countless Calgarians with ties to Ukraine watched and listened as President Zelenskyy addressed Canadians in an historic speech to parliament.
Uliana Kanevets has family in Ukraine. She said his words were powerful and personal.
“I know, being an ocean away, it’s easy to say: ‘It’s their war,'” Kanevets said. “It has to touch somebody when you imagine something in Calgary or Edmonton or Vancouver of Ottawa, it boggles the mind.”
Kanevets is with Calgary’s Vykrutas Ukrainian Dance Society. Members of the dance organization are harnessing their feelings of helplessness to raise money for humanitarian efforts in their homeland.
On Saturday, April 30 at 7 p.m., nearly 100 dancers from across Alberta will share the stage in a benefit performance. Bravo 2022 is a dedication to the heroes of this war.
“I feel like all these people are hiding in bomb shelters and they feel alone and they don’t feel like they are part of a global community,” Kanevets said.
“I want them to know we are there for them.”
Anastasiia Yasynska is a dancer in Calgary and spent time in Ukraine just a few months ago, visiting friends and family.
“It really hits close to home. I grew up there. I always think if my family hadn’t immigrated, I could be there now.,” Yasynska said.
“I also feel guilty in Canada being able to live here while my friends are there struggling and dealing with this.
“This is more than a war; this is fighting for freedom.”
Brock Munck said he’s proud to support Ukraine with the upcoming fundraiser event.
“I love dancing and love helping people find a way to help. It’s really impactful to see this is happening,” Munck said.
Luba Perewernycky also watched Zelensky’s speech from her Calgary home.
“I feel like it was a scream for help, he was trying to get personal,” Perewernycky said. “Every day delayed we don’t have our sky covered, is the loss of lives.
“The world is watching. And not covering the sky is playing by Putin’s rules.”
Members of her family are trying to stay alive with every passing hour.
“Every day you check if they are OK, if they are alive,” Luba said. “Every time they said: ‘We survived the night.’ They are counting the days when this nightmare will be over.”