By Jessica Easthope
Outside the Russian embassy in Washington D.C., moments of pride breaking through protest.
“In the 21st century, it’s horrible to start a war and to seize the territories of its neighbors,” said one protester. “Like first Russia, next Crimea and then it started a hybrid war in Eastern Ukraine. Now the whole country. Ukraine is under attack and Ukrainians will fight.”
Vows to uphold Ukraine’s independence and peace despite a Russian attack, but Ukrainians in the United States are all still shocked the conflict escalated to this. In Chicago’s Ukrainian village, residents are terrified, helplessly trying to contact family. Many fear the worst: knowing their relatives will be asked to fight.
“They attack many cities at the same time because they want to, you know, destroy the whole country,” one Chicago resident said. “The Ukrainian government is going to hire soldiers from 18 to 60 years old. I have in the same age my family.”
New York City is home to the largest Ukrainian population in the United States. In the Diocese of Brooklyn, Bishop Robert Brennan urged Catholics to pray for those in their own community and around the world.
“As many of us woke to the shocking news, not necessarily surprising, but the shocking news of the invasion of Ukraine,” Bishop Brennan said, “we pray indeed for the people of Ukraine. We pray for people from our own Diocese here in Brooklyn from the Ukrainian community.
Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin reiterated Pope Francis’ call for Ash Wednesday to be a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Ukraine.
“As believers, we do not lose hope for a glimmer of conscience on the part of those who hold in their hands the fortunes of the world,” Cardinal Parolin said. “And we continue to pray and fast — as we shall do this coming Ash Wednesday — for peace in Ukraine and in the entire world.”
Men and women religious at the Monastery of The UGCC in southeastern Ukraine are making their voices heard.