Around 200 people gathered outside the Ohio Statehouse Saturday, chanting and waving Ukrainian flags to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Marianna Klochko, an associate professor of sociology at Ohio State, said the group gathered to raise awareness of violence against Ukrainians by the Russian military.
“That’s what we’re here for — to show that people care, and that politicians should not give up,” Klochko, the adviser for The Ukrainian Society of The Ohio State University and president of the Ukrainian Cultural Center of Ohio, said.
Russia invaded and declared war on Ukraine Wednesday after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he wanted Ukraine to revert back to a territory , like it was in the Soviet Union. Putin also does not want Ukraine to join NATO.
The Russian military has since attacked major Ukrainian cities, including the capital city of Kyiv, according to Reuters .
Natalia Lebedyn, a member of the Ukrainian Cultural Society of Ohio and an organizer of the rally, said the group is calling on the U.S. and allies to impose more sanctions on Russia and supply more military aid to Ukraine.
“Show our government here that we are concerned, that they’re not doing enough, and that Ukrainians are dying for democracy, for freedom, and they need our support,” Lebedyn said.
Klochko said the war is more than Ukraine versus Russia, predicting it will spread beyond Ukraine.
“It’s evil versus good, it’s democracy versus authoritarian rule, it’s absolutely the horror and atrocities of war versus the organized order of the world,” Klochko said.
Ko Rupert, a fourth-year in political ecology and organizer with Students for a Democratic Society, said he joined the rally Saturday to hope for peace in Ukraine.
“I think that we should really just be listening to the demands of the Ukrainian people in the Ukrainian diaspora,” Rupert said.
Sofiia Mikhailichenko, a student at Shawnee State University from Ukraine, said she worries for her family back home.
“It’s really scary, my parents literally spent the night last night, or yesterday, in the basement in a karaoke bar because my city was getting bombed, and I have family in Kyiv that’s constantly getting bombed,” Mikhailichenko said.
Mikhailichenko said she urges people to educate themselves about what is happening in Ukraine and take a stand against Russia’s actions.
“Please take action, please don’t be silent about it, because I mean you never know when Putin can knock on your door,” Mikhailichenko said.