Alberta’s Ukrainian community stands in solidarity with Ukraine as tension with Russia escalates

6 months ago 86

The world watches as tensions between Russia and Ukraine escalate and Alberta’s large Ukrainian population is watching too.

“There’s lots of connections to Ukraine and we are very concerned about the actions Russia is taking right now on Ukraine as it is impacting our family and friends,” said Orysia Boychuk, the president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress’ Alberta Provincial Council.

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress of Edmonton said in Alberta there are roughly 350,000 people of Ukrainian descent.

Among those is Terry Zakordonski, who said he fears this current situation could lead to war.

“A war is the last thing anybody wants,” the Edmontonian said. “It is not good for the economy. The people have enough difficulty as it is without having to fight a war.

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“This is the situation we are in.”

Zakordonski said while the tensions are playing out far away geographically, to see what’s unfolding is a terrible feeling.

“Imagine if Canada had a neighbour like that, that you have to fight every five or 10 years,” he said.

Boychuk is regularly talking to friends and family who describe what life in Ukraine is like now and it scares her.

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“They are telling us there are increased tensions in Ukraine, the forces are approaching,” she said.

Boychuck said she wants to see more sanctions imposed on Russia, a view shared by others in Alberta’s Ukrainian community.

“We are engaging on multiple levels, asking, supporting, demanding (and) requesting that we don’t just stand by and watch this as a community,” Boychuk said.

Some have pleaded to Edmontonians to stand in solidarity with Ukraine.

To create further awareness and gain support, Boychuk’s organization is also issuing a call to action through social media on Saturday using the hashtag #StandWithUkraine.

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Inna Platonova, the president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress’ Calgary branch, said “we’re all very alarmed” at what is going on with Russia.

“We need a really firm response from the West to deter any further escalation,” Platonova said. “All Ukrainians want is to live in a free, peaceful and democratic state. That’s why we are calling for Canada and allies to strengthen their support for Ukraine.

“We ask for defensive equipment and weapons to be sent to Ukraine, so Ukraine can defend themselves. We also want economic sanctions to be introduced against (Russian President Vladimir) Putin.”

–With files from Jackie Wilson, Global News

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