Ukrainians, Americans stage rally in D.C. against Russian aggression

Ukrainians, Americans stage rally in D.C. against Russian aggression

On February 25, one of the most important symbols of American democracy - the Lincoln Memorial - turned into the Ukrainian Maidan, wrapped in blue and yellow symbols and anti-war slogans.

On Saturday, a large crowd gathered at the site to mark the first anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Ukrinform's own correspondent reports.

Members of the Ukrainian community in the U.S., American citizens, politicians, diplomats, religious leaders, activists, and volunteers participated in the event, calling for joint efforts to tackle Russia and the expansion of comprehensive assistance to Ukraine.

"The goal of our gathering is to join forces with Ukraine so that Ukrainians win this war," Mykhailo Savkiv, one of the co-organizers of the rally, told Ukrinform in a comment.

"Our main duty as Americans of Ukrainian origin is to influence members of Congress, as well as the U.S. government, to send Ukraine the weapons it needs now, as well as provide other support," noted Savkiv.

According to Father Volodymyr, rector of the Ukrainian Orthodox St. Andrew’s Cathedral, who read a prayer for all rally participants, the venue bears some special symbolism.

"The fact that the rally in support of Ukraine is taking place outside the Lincoln Memorial reflects the will and desire for freedom," he told Ukrinform.

In this regard, according to the cleric, many Americans believe in and support Ukraine, "because even though we have different histories, we are united by freedom." Father Volodymyr also emphasized that it is God that gives nations their freedom: "Because of this, we unite to protect it."

The Ambassador of Ukraine to the USA, Oksana Markarova, addressed the audience, saying that the Ukrainian and American peoples share important common values.

The common traits are courage and love for freedom, as well as willingness to fight for it, the Ukrainian ambassador emphasized.

She recalled that Russia's war against Ukraine has been going on since 2014, and a year ago it turned into a full-scale invasion. Even before the invasion, the Ukrainians knew they would not give up and that they would keep fighting to defend their “civilizational choice.”

“We, Ukrainians, have been doing this for centuries,” said Markarova.

USAID Administrator Samantha Power, who also joined the rally in support of Ukraine, drew attention to what children go through in the times of war, as well as their role in the future of Ukraine.

She said she brought her children to the event so that they understand that the fight Ukraine is pursuing is not only for the children's right to live without fear of new attacks. It’s also for the sake of living with the awareness that they can create their own future, and that in the future they will be warm throughout winter.

She emphasized that the Ukrainian people are fighting not only for the children of Ukraine, but also for all children, for their rights, for safety and dignity throughout the world.

A rally against Russian aggression was held in the center of Washington / Photo: Yaroslav Dovgopol, Ukrinform

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine (2006-2009), Vice President of Peace Institute in Washington, William Taylor, for his part, noted that the Americans believe in the victory of the Ukrainian people.

He noted that last year, Ukraine showed that it could achieve victory, while America and the West in general must give Ukraine all the tools required to this end.

He stated that a significant part of American society continues to support Ukraine, while Congress also expresses bipartisan support for continued assistance to Ukraine and its people.

After several hours of speeches outside the Lincoln Memorial, the participants marched to the Russian ambassador's residence.

The rally in the center of the American capital was held with the organizational support of UCCA, US Ukrainian Activists, United Help Ukraine, Razom for Ukraine, the Embassy of Ukraine in the United States, Honorary Consulate of Ukraine in Philadelphia, and U.S.-Ukraine Business Council. Among the co-organizers of the event also were Revived Soldiers Ukraine, Ukrainian School DC, and Support Hospitals in Ukraine.

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