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Hundreds gather in Kansas City to protest Russian invasion of Ukraine

022622_BS_ProtestForUkraine
Bek Shackelford-Nwanganga
/
KCUR 89.3
A woman signs a message to Ukraine. Next to her, there is a poster board full of URL codes which link to charity organizations that are gathering funds for Ukrainians effected by Putin's invasion.

With cries of "stop the war," around 300 people gathered Saturday at Mill Creek Park near the Country Club Plaza to protest Russia’s attacks on Ukraine.

Protestors gathered in Kansas City Saturday in a show of solidarity with Ukraine, crying “stop the war,” offering a warning to the U.S., and publicly worrying about their families back home.

Volodymyr Kavetskyi, a Kansas State University student who was raised in Kyiv, said he came to the protest at Mill Creek Park near the Country Club Plaza as a call for help on behalf of people still in Ukraine.

“I’m protesting to bring peace to Ukraine, for America to put sanctions on Russian federation,” he said, “and to let U.S. citizens know that we are in danger. They have to make some steps to protect our country because if they don’t protect us, next day it can be them who will suffer from this.”

022622_BS_ProtestForUkraine
Bek Shackelford-Nwanganga
/
KCUR 89.3
Volodymyr Kavetskyi and Catherine Haas attended the protest Saturday. Kavetskyi is was born and raised in Kyiv, Ukraine and he said he is very worried for his family who are still there.

Kavetskyi’s mother and brother are still in Ukraine. His mother, a teacher, has been helping wounded people in hospitals. She told her son that although Russian forces claim they’re only bombing military buildings, they have destroyed civilian buildings, too.

Olha Chovha moved from Ukraine to Kansas City on February 15, catching the last available flight here. She had been planning to move for nine years to join her mother, she said.

“I brought my cat and I was so blessed and so lucky to come here. If I delayed maybe one day, I would stay in Ukraine,” said Chovha.

Less than a week after she moved here, Chovha started to read news about Russians invading her home country. She came to the protest, she said, to show her friends and family still in Ukraine that she is supporting them.

“It’s so terrible because all of my family, they stayed in Ukraine. My friends, my family, my loved ones, they will stay,” Chovha said through tears. “I worry so much, and I know that the cities where they live, they are being bombed. So it is so difficult, it’s so hard to be here when I can’t help.”

Several members of international communities based in Kansas City showed their support, saying they knew the sting of war. Waheedullah Hamdard, who is from Afghanistan, was with a small group of Afghan friends at the protest. Hamdard said he and his friends will always stand with the Ukrainian people.

“We would like from President Putin to stop violence right now, right here,” Hamdard said. “Our country is a war-hit country. We have seen the war, we passed war. We have seen the children, the kids, they are just killed in front of our eyes and we cannot afford the war anywhere in the world.”

022622_BS_ProtestForUkraine
Bek Shackelford-Nwanganga
/
KCUR 89.3
People from the Taiwanese Association of Kansas City came to the protest Saturday to show support for Ukraine.

Chuyen Liu gathered with a small group from the Taiwanese Association of Kansas City, holding signs that said “Taiwanese Americans Support Ukraine.” Liu said he saw similarities with what is happening in Ukraine compared to what is happening in Taiwan. He said if Putin completely takes over Ukraine, he thinks it will embolden China to do the same in Taiwan.

“China is the kind of country you can not sign any agreement with, and that is what got us worried,” said Liu. “Of course, we would like to help them (Ukrainians), provide our, at least mental help.”

Bek Shackelford-Nwanganga is a freelance reporter for KCUR 89.3.
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