Anniversary of Russian invasion in Ukraine inspires Mid-Michigan residents to take action
LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky marked the one-year anniversary of the war in Ukraine on Friday with a moment of silence and an address to members of Ukraine’s armed forces and a small gathering of dignitaries in Saint Sophia Square.
Zelensky held back tears as he gave out “Hero of Ukraine Awards” to families of fallen soldiers. He also met virtually with President Joe Biden and other G-7 leaders to discuss support for Ukraine and how to hold the Kremlin responsible for its invasion. Among the issues to be discussed is Russia’s continued control of roughly a fifth of Ukraine’s territory.
In Mid-Michigan, residents are doing their part to help those living and fighting in Ukraine.
“Everyone really just wants this war to end,” said MSU alumni Mason Harvath-Gerrans. “We want Ukraine’s territorial integrity to be restored.”
When war loomed over the borders of Russia and Ukraine last year, Michigan students felt the pressure, even though they were miles away from home. A home the Russian army still occupies a year later.
“It’s hard to really explain how it feels precisely because of the fact that it is still continuing and it has become a part of life,” Harvath-Gerrans said.
With Russia controlling about 20% of Ukraine’s territory, the fight isn’t over. Phillip and Cynthia Knapp visited Ukraine last year and they said they knew they needed to help. They gathered medical equipment, visited orphanages and built a shelter for women and children while men continued fighting. They also bought 150 mats for the soldiers to sleep on, as well as socks and hand warmers.
Rebecca Kason, whose family’s roots are in Russia, booked Airbnb’s in Ukraine as a direct way of getting money to the Ukrainian people.
Harvath-Gerrans expressed gratitude for the help sent to Ukraine to defend itself.
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