Local demonstration in support of Ukraine

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The Windsor chapter of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress organized a rally on Sunday designed to show support for Ukraine, which faces a possible invasion from Russia.

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The #STANDWITHUKRAINE rally was held in front of St. Vladimir’s Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in the 2000 block of Tecumseh Road East.

A crowd of almost 50 people attended the event, wearing yellow and blue garments, which are the national colors of Ukraine.

The rally was organized to show support for Ukraine, its sovereignty and independence, said Leisha Nazarewich, who helped organize the event.

“Obviously, it’s very important because we’re very worried about what’s going on in Ukraine and all the waiting,” he said. “What is happening is raising a lot of tension and worrying many of us who have relatives there.

“We don’t know if the war is going to break out or it’s just one of those games that Putin is playing and he will find some way to reduce it. It is generating too much conflict and tension.”

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In Windsor and Essex counties, there are approximately 2,000 people who consider themselves of Ukrainian descent. The local rally was held as one of 30 similar events across Canada on Sunday.

“What we want people to know is who we are,” Nazarewich said. “Some people have a misunderstanding about Ukraine. We don’t want people to think that we are Russians under a different name.

“We are not Russians, we have our own country, our own history and our own language. We have crossed paths on occasion, but want to dispel any misinformation. We want to be considered a free country and everything that goes with it: free elections, press and everything that goes with a free society.”

Ukraine has about 60 million people who want to be considered as part of the European community in the future, he said.

What the local group also wanted to emphasize is that if a war involving Ukraine occurs and the country falls under Russian control, Putin is not likely to stop there, Nazarewich said.

“We think he wants to recreate the Russian empire of the tsars,” he said. “He will not stop there and go after other places. So that’s another concern. It is not only Ukraine, but all of Eastern Europe is in danger. Our fear is that he wants to take us back to the 20th century, instead of moving forward.”

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