PARMA, Ohio — Ukrainian People, watching the Russian assault on their homeland with horror and anger on Thursday, described Ukraine as susceptible and helpless — but additionally as a rustic with the identical aspirations as america.
“People have to understand that that is about freedom and with the ability to reside one’s life as they see match, to manipulate as they need to, and to not be put underneath the facility of a dictator’s ego,” mentioned the Very Rev. John Nakonachny, 75, pastor of St. Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in Parma, Ohio, a Cleveland suburb with a large Ukrainian inhabitants.
“Isn’t caring about what occurs in Ukraine one thing People would get behind?” he requested.
Peter Teluk, 55, labored in Ukraine for 25 years as a marketing consultant for American enterprise pursuits and returned to america final yr. He urged People to not flip a blind eye to the battle.
“The U.S. has a brief consideration span and has a need to assume much less about international battle today,” mentioned Mr. Teluk, a lawyer within the Cleveland space. However he mentioned america ought to recognize that Ukraine was “symbolically what we wish the remainder of the world to be — a rustic that desires to outline what it’s by themselves.”
“We should always perceive that,” he continued, “as a result of that’s what now we have at all times believed.”
Taras Szmagala Jr., the board chairman and president of the Ukrainian Catholic College Basis, mentioned President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia was threatened by the rising unbiased voice of middle-class Ukrainians. Russians, he mentioned, are listening to these voices and seeing what a democracy can convey them.
“Ukrainians are maturing as a society and they’re getting higher over time, and that could be a menace to Putin,” he mentioned. “The People and the media must see that facet of issues.”
Throughout the nation, Ukrainian immigrants mentioned they felt a profound sense of helplessness as they heard from panicked kin who felt trapped as a lot of their dwelling nation was reworked right into a warfare zone.
“I didn’t sleep all evening. I talked to my brother and sister. They’re so scared,” mentioned Tanya Vlasenko, 48, of Vancouver, Wash. “There’s nothing we are able to do, solely pray,” she mentioned, weeping.
Vancouver and close by Portland, Ore., are dwelling to greater than 20,000 Slavic Christians. Most of them are Ukrainians who started settling within the Pacific Northwest within the Nineties with refugee standing, after fleeing non secular persecution. They’ve erected dozens of church buildings which might be the middle of neighborhood life.
At First Slavic Evangelical Baptist Church, the place Ms. Vlasenko’s household worships, the pastor has been main congregants in prayer since Russian navy motion in Ukraine grew to become a risk.
Salah Ansary, senior district director for Lutheran Neighborhood Companies Northwest, a refugee resettlement company, mentioned anxious Ukrainian immigrants had been calling to ask how they might get their kin overseas.
“We don’t have good info to supply, or something to supply that can provide them any type of consolation at this second,” he mentioned. “The state of affairs is so fluid.”
Solomia Gura, 31, of Philadelphia, mentioned it had grow to be more and more tough to succeed in folks in her dwelling nation who’ve taken refuge in bunkers.
“I’m attempting to verify if everyone is alive, if no bomb hit them,” mentioned Ms. Gura, whose mom and brother reside exterior Lviv, a metropolis in western Ukraine that had not been spared from the Russian navy incursion.
Ms. Gura mentioned she deliberate to attend a rally for Ukraine on Friday in Philadelphia, the place about 70,000 Ukrainians and Ukrainian People reside.
“That’s as a lot we are able to do is present our help,” mentioned Ms. Gura, her voice laden with exhaustion and tears.
Irena Mykyta, 60, an immigration lawyer in New York, mentioned that, like her kin and mates in Ukraine, she was incredulous her dwelling nation was underneath assault.
“I really feel ineffective and responsible that I’m a Ukrainian right here,” mentioned Ms. Mykyta, who has lived in america for 26 years and is a naturalized citizen. “Ukraine is helpless and we’re helpless right here.”