Winnipeg Ukrainians raise funds for protesters back home

Members of Winnipeg's Ukrainian community held a special fundraiser Saturday night to buy medical supplies for injured protesters in their homeland.
A Ukrainian man stands in protest in front of gunmen in unmarked uniforms as they stand guard in Balaklava, on the outskirts of Sevastopol, Ukraine, Saturday, March 1, 2014. An emblem on one of the vehicles and their number plates identify them as belonging to the Russian military. Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of sending new troops into Crimea, a strategic Russia-speaking region that hosts a major Russian navy base. The Kremlin hasn't responded to the accusations, but Russian lawmakers urged Putin to act to protect Russians in Crimea. (AP Photo/Andrew Lubimov) (Andrew Lubimov/Associated Press)

Members of Winnipeg's Ukrainian community held a special fundraiser Saturday night to buy medical supplies for injured protesters in their homeland.

Organizers said proceeds raised will also be used to support families back home who have lost loved ones in the crisis.

Winnipegger Borys Lehkar said he has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from people of all different kinds of ethnic backgrounds.

"For the last couple days, I heard about Ukraine more than the previous 10 years," he said. "Now Canada is responding. It helps people and I am very glad and many Ukrainians are very glad."

Lehkar said everyone in the local Ukrainian community is very worried, especially with Russia's announcement it will send troops into Crimea, a part of the same region.

"Oh, we are very nervous," he said. "I just called my friends and they don't know what could happen. The situation, it's very volatile."

The Ukrainian Canadian Institute Prosvita on Pritchard Avenue was packed for the evening fundraiser, which was sold out with hundreds of tickets sold.