MILWAUKEE, (CBS 58) — Members of Milwaukee’s Ukrainian community gathered for church the morning of Feb. 27, ahead of an anti-war protest at the sunburst sculpture on Wisconsin Ave in Milwaukee from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. for the first time since their home country was attacked by Russia.
Prior to today’s protest, you could find many in Milwaukee’s Ukrainian community at St. Michael’s Ukrainian Catholic Church Sunday Mass.
Sadness was on their faces as they prayed for peace and healing for Ukraine.
People like Krystia Nora, a university professor whose family immigrated from Ukraine, says she sees this as a continuation of what began eight years ago when Russia first invaded Crimea. , which is why she protested on February 27.
“Protesting for peace, standing with the people of Ukraine is important,” Nora said.
Nora protested on February 27, along with Anya Nakonechna, who said she had been in contact with her friends and family in the western part of Ukraine, who hid while the sirens went off.
She said their tone was starting to change.
“A few days ago all their voices were very scared, but yesterday and today is another day and all of us in the community have become stronger and we are doing our best,” Nakonechna said.
While new sanctions continue to come from the Biden administration and the Western world, new sanctions today prevent many Russian banks from accessing the critical fast payment system.
Members of Milwaukee’s Ukrainian community said they fear, as with Crimea, it won’t end there.
“Sanctions are not enough, they will still make inroads, Putin is very power hungry and it’s not going to stop in Ukraine,” Nakonechna said.
Both are proud as American citizens that the response was so strong.
“We are so proud of this country for everything it does, for all the support we receive,” Nora said, adding that the same goes for the international community. “Every single person on this planet who stands up and says this is wrong and we stand against it, I’m very grateful, but especially the Russian people who stand against this and their government.”
As their family and friends face the Russian invasion, they pray for peace and for more help to be on the way.
“Because when you don’t fight, freedom dies,” Nora said.