‘Keep talking about this’: Hundreds gather in Winnipeg in support of Ukraine on invasion anniversary

Hopeful and upset are just some of the multiple feelings Ukrainians and Winnipeggers were experiencing at a rally in Winnipeg Friday evening.

Several hundred showed up outside of the Canadian Museum of Human Rights to show support for Ukraine on the one-year anniversary of Russia invading Ukraine.

“The war has been dragging on this long. It’s crazy that this day and age an aggressive country can invade its peaceful neighbour and do what they do, with committing war crimes and killing civilians,” said Demyan Hyworok, the chair of the charitable and educational trust for the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.

He said a rally marking the one-year anniversary is important to hold so that it stays in everyone’s mind.

“Keep talking about this. (Russia) is counting on the fact that people will get apathy and move on to other things. It is not acceptable what is going on and we need to keep the pressure on the regime in Moscow and we need to keep holding events like this to pressure our government, to pressure other governments, to pressure everybody to give Ukraine the support it needs.”

Since the war started, the Manitoba government said more than 17,000 Ukrainians have checked in at the provincial reception centre. It makes Manitoba one of the highest per-capita places for Ukrainian newcomers to settle in Canada.

“Manitoba continues to welcome newly arrived Ukrainians with open hearts and open arms,” Stefanson said in a release Friday. “Our ongoing support reflects the very finest of Manitoba traditions – caring, compassion and dedication – in helping those in need.”

One of those Ukrainians is Olga Fedorova. She came to Winnipeg from Muriapol, Ukraine last spring and now lives with her daughters who were in Canada before the war.

“In Ukraine, people are also friendly, but not like in Winnipeg,” said Fedorova in an interview earlier in the day Friday.

She has a job in the city and said she is enjoying her new, but notes there are challenges, like learning English and also worrying about family back home. That’s a sentiment shared by her daughters.

“It’s hard when you read news about friends leaving cities or your family leaving and you are messaging them, ‘Are you in danger? Are you safe?'” said Yuliia Fedorova.

While laying roots in their new home, the Fedorova family has faith in their homeland and thinks Ukraine will win the war.

The rally in Winnipeg was one of many scheduled to take place Friday, with 41 set to happen throughout Canada.

Despite the frigid temperatures, Hyworok said seeing the number of people showing support for Ukraine was fantastic to see.

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