North Okanagan residents will have the chance to show their support for Ukraine.
The European democratic country was invaded by Russia on Thursday, Feb. 24.
“There are about 20,000 people in the Okanagan who identify as Ukrainian-Canadians, and I’ve been getting a ton of emails and text messages from people wanting to gather and show support,” said Vernon’s Andrea Malysh, well-known in the Ukrainian community in the North Okanagan.
The Vernon Ukrainian Orthodox Church – Assumption of St. Mary (at 4105-27th St.) will hold a rally Saturday, Feb. 26, at 4 p.m. and everyone is welcome to show their support for the people of Ukraine.
Immediately following at 5 p.m. will be vespers (service of evening prayer) and prayers for Ukraine conducted in the church.
Malysh wasn’t surprised by Thursday’s invasion orchestrated by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Obviously I’m upset and concerned for my family and friends in Ukraine but I’m not shocked,” she said. “He’s been setting this up for months.”
Malysh spoke with a cousin who was safe with family in a village in western Ukraine, though there was an explosion about two hours north of their location.
While people are welcome to show their support in person, those who would like to help out with donations are encouraged to do so.
The Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC) and the Canada-Ukraine Foundation (CUF) announced the establishment of a Humanitarian Relief Committee in preparation of a humanitarian crisis ensuing from further Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The committee will work with the Ukrainian Canadian community across Canada to reduce duplication of effort, increase efficiency and ensure aid efforts have the most effective impact for Ukrainian citizens affected by the crisis.
Donations can be made to cufoundation.ca/donate. Close to $2.5 million has been donated as of 3 p.m. Pacific time Thursday, Feb. 24.
“The Ukrainian Canadian community is extremely concerned about the ongoing escalation of Russian aggression on Ukraine’s borders. As Canadians, we stand with the Ukrainian people, and their right to enjoy freedom, democracy, and live in a safe and secure independent state,” UCC national president Alexandra Chyczij said.
UCC brings together under one umbrella all the national, provincial and local Ukrainian Canadian organizations. The CUF was formed in order to coordinate, develop, organize and deliver assistance projects generated by Canadians and directed to Ukraine.