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Ukrainian Calgarians watch President Zelenskyy’s parliament address: ‘A scream for help’

Click to play video: 'Ukrainian Calgarians watch President Zelensky’s parliament address: ‘It was a scream for help’' Ukrainian Calgarians watch President Zelensky’s parliament address: ‘It was a scream for help’
WATCH: The president of Ukraine made an historic address to Canada’s parliament that was also powerful and personal. Ukrainian Calgarians were watching and hope it compels Canadian officials to do more for their devastated homeland. Jill Croteau reports. – Mar 15, 2022

Countless Calgarians with ties to Ukraine watched and listened as President Zelenskyy addressed Canadians in an historic speech to parliament.

Read more: Zelenskyy’s pleas to Western governments for Ukraine aid ‘having an impact,’ experts say

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.”

Calgarians with connections to Ukraine watch Zelensky’s speech. Jill Croteau/Global News

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.

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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.

Click to play video: 'Alberta artist Taras Polataiko returns to homeland to help Ukraine war efforts' Alberta artist Taras Polataiko returns to homeland to help Ukraine war efforts
Alberta artist Taras Polataiko returns to homeland to help Ukraine war efforts – Mar 15, 2022

“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.”

Read more: Why is Russia invading Ukraine? Amid ‘astounding’ resistance, here’s what you need to know

Anastasiia Yasynska is a dancer in Calgary and spent time in Ukraine just a few months ago, visiting friends and family.

Dancers rehearsing at Vykrutas Ukrainian Dance Society’s studio. Jill Croteau/Global Calgary

“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.

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“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.”

Click to play video: 'Ukrainian president speaks in Canada’s House of Commons' Ukrainian president speaks in Canada’s House of Commons
Ukrainian president speaks in Canada’s House of Commons – Mar 15, 2022

Read more: Canadians flee potential Russian invasion in Moldova, others arrive to help relief efforts

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.

Click to play video: 'Zelenskyy addresses parliament as invasion continues' Zelenskyy addresses parliament as invasion continues
Zelenskyy addresses parliament as invasion continues – Mar 15, 2022

Luba Perewernycky also watched Zelensky’s speech from her Calgary home.

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“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.”

Luba Perewernycky watching speech. Jill Croteau/Global Calgary

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.”

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