Ladygina has been up crying, watching the news and trying to call her loved ones who remain in Ukraine. It’s a stark contrast to what she sees in New York, she said. On Saturday, she saw people sitting and eating in restaurants who “don’t think that the war can come to their houses,” she told CNN.
But peace, she said, is fragile.
“I think that the whole world right now needs to unite,” Ladygina said, adding: “Now is the time to say no and stop one person who keeps in fear the whole world.”
“Each Ukrainian should keep one thing in mind: if you can stop and destroy the occupiers — do it,” Zelensky said. “Everyone who can come back to Ukraine — come back to defend Ukraine.”
But some Ukrainian supporters, like Merrick Brown, whose great grandparents came to the United States from Ukraine, think more needs to be done.
“I believe the US and NATO should provide military assistance to Ukraine,” Brown, who also attended the Times Square rally, told CNN. He described the demonstration as peaceful and “more pro-Ukraine than anti-Russia.”
‘Pray for Ukraine’
In downtown Atlanta, dozens of people gathered for a “Stand with Ukraine” rally. Some attendees wore blue and yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag, while others carried signs that read, “Pray for Ukraine” and “Ukranians Unite!” as they sang the Ukrainian national anthem.
“It was hard to believe,” Kilpa told WGCL. “It was (a) new reality.”
Joshua Hill, another attendee in Atlanta, doesn’t have a personal connection to Ukraine, but he told CNN via Twitter he joined because “Ukraine needs the support of the world.”
“Our leaders aren’t doing enough,” Hill said. “I’m here to show support for more action from the US government, NATO and all of Ukraine’s allies.”
‘I just wanted to show my support and solidarity’
In Washington, DC, another crowd demonstrated in front of the White House.
Many attendees hoisted Ukrainian flags or had them draped around their shoulders as they chanted, “Stop Putin now.”
One demonstrator, JP Wheeler, told CNN he was “just a concerned citizen” with no personal ties to Ukraine. “No family or friends, just a human connection and a desire to support the Ukrainians and (their) struggle,” Wheeler said.
A couple miles away from the rally outside the White House, Eleanor Shiori Hughes, a graduate student at Georgetown University, left flowers on the steps of the Ukrainian embassy, where a sign read “Long Live Free Ukraine.”
She, too, had no connection to Ukraine.
“I just wanted to show my support and solidarity for the Ukrainian people,” Hughes said.
“We know that freedom, democracy, and independence are a light unto the world,” Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement.
“We are proud to cast the colors of the Ukrainian flag across our own State Capitol as we continue to support and pray for the brave people of Ukraine during this dark time,” he said.
‘The world needs to act’
Similar demonstrations were held in a number of cities on Friday.
“Sanctions are not enough,” one sign read, per footage from WTVF. Another: “The world needs to act now.”
Attendee Alisa Kaiser told the station that most of the demonstrators probably had family in Ukraine. “They’re happy we’re not there, because we’re safe here,” she said. “But all you want is to be there with them to support.”
She added: “We need to make sure that this does not go further than it already has … It’s gone too far.”
“It’s just heartbreaking to see my country being invaded,” Voloshaynra told WRTV.
Anatoliy Mushak told the station the situation in Ukraine is “unpredictable.”
“They are under siege right now,” he said.