Supporters of Ukraine in Smithers rallied today at the corner of Main St. and Hwy 16.
Co-organizer of the event, Luba Kasum, said it is extremely important to show solidarity with the Ukrainian people.
“If you think Ukraine is far away and this doesn’t concern Canada, think twice,” she said. “History repeats itself, and it is only in our human hands to not let it happen again.”
For Kasum, the situation is very personal.
“As I am writing these words, the street where I lived in Ukraine is being bombed,” she said via text with The Interior News. “My friends that I am texting with constantly are hiding in their basements.
“Children’s hospitals, clinics, residential houses are destroyed. Men, women, and children are killed. I don’t know if I will ever see my friends again or if they will live.
“My friends here in Smithers have their close families back in Ukraine (parents and grandparents, brothers and sisters, nieces, and nephews). All in different cities of Ukraine but all are going through the same nightmare right now.”
Russia launched an invasion of the eastern European country last week prompting condemnation from the West including sanctions by the Canadian government.
Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach was among the roughly 200 people who showed up to show their support for the people of Ukraine.
“After a fractious period in Ottawa, it’s nice to see all the parties coming together,” he said. “There is a lot of unity on this.”
Co-organizer Pat Kolida said they were thrilled with the turnout.
“It’s really wonderful,” she said.
Volunteers distributed a list of organizations that people can donate to including: National Bank of Ukriane (to support the Ukrainian Army); the Red Cross (the Canadian government will match all funds); and the Canada-Ukraine Foundation.
There will also be a fundraising event for Ukraine at UFO on Main (Ukrainian Food Café) March 13. From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on that Sunday, they will be selling Pierogies and other Ukrainian fare with all the proceeds going to the Red Cross and Canada-Ukraine Foundation.