New Brunswick

N.B.'s Ukrainian community rallies in support of embattled homeland

About 150 members of Saint John's Ukrainian community rallied Saturday to call on government officials to further help Ukraine fend off an invasion by Russia. More rallies are planned this weekend in the region and across the country.

'This is not the civilized world we want to raise our kids in,' says rally organizer

About 150 members of Saint John's Ukrainian community rallied outside city hall Saturday. (Submitted by Kateryna Kryvolap)

About 150 members of Saint John's Ukrainian community rallied Saturday to call on government officials to further help Ukraine fend off an invasion by Russia.

Rally organizer Oksana Posatska and others, many holding signs, stood in front of Saint John city hall.

Posatska came to Canada seven years ago from the city of Lviv, which is near the border with Poland. Thousands of Ukrainian refugees are fleeing the country in that direction. 

She has a family in Saint John. For her, the situation in her homeland is heartbreaking. 

Rally organizer Oksana Posatska is seen here in front of Saint John city hall with other members of the Ukrainian community. (Blair Sanderson/CBC)

"We gather today to make our voices heard loud and clear," she said. "We require actions from our local governments."

Posatska said the community is demanding action to help the Ukrainian people, like stronger sanctions against Russia that would include banning the country from the SWIFT banking system.

"We need NATO to close the sky above Ukraine to protect and shelter Ukraine.... This is the least we can do as Ukrainians." 

The conflict may be taking place across the world, but Posatska and the community feel an urgent need to heed the calls for assistance by Ukraine's leadership.

"We are so far from Ukraine," she said. "But we can ask for help. We can put pressure on our local governments, for our local politicians.

"This is not the civilized world we want to raise our kids in."

Ever since the invasion commenced on Thursday, Ukrainian communities across the province have rallied with anti-war messages. 

Over 100 Ukrainian Canadians rallied outside Moncton city hall on Thursday. There was a smaller gathering outside Fredericton city hall on Friday.

Other rallies are planned this weekend around the region and around the country.

Government officials such as Education Minister Dominic Cardy, Liberal MP Jenica  Atwin, Green Party Leader David Coon and Fredericton Mayor Kate Rogers were scheduled to attend attend a vigil outside Fredericton city hall later Saturday.

With files from Blair Sanderson and Julia Wright

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