Members of the Ukrainian community in Los Angeles are horrified at Russia’s ongoing assault in Ukraine and terrified that no other countries are coming to their aid. On Friday, they gathered with supporters in Santa Monica to demand an end to the violence.
One woman said her family is back in Kyiv, and she has a friend who is fighting on the front lines in the capital city.
The woman called her friend, Lt. Denys Antipov, who serves in the Ukrainian airborne brigade. He spoke with KTLA via cell phone and said Ukrainians are simply outnumbered.
“Ukrainians will resist, we have a strong morale, but we need equipment,” Antipov said. “Because even though our spirit is high — we are ready to fight, we are ready to protect our country — but we need the equipment because we are dealing now with the second military power in the world,” he said. “We need strong air support. We need anti-aircraft launch pads, we need the anti-aircraft missiles and we need first aid kits … and basically any protective gear because there are many volunteers who are willing to protect our cities.”
Another soldier, Serah Velychanskyi, said Ukrainian forces remain “on alert all the time.”
“We will fight. We will resist,” he said.
Some protesters said they’re doing what they can to support Ukraine’s armed forces.
“I’m doing what I can here and sending money to our army, but there’s really not much I can say. They’re hiding in bomb shelters with their kids. The kids are crying,” one protester said.
Across Southern California, Ukrainians are praying and hoping their loved ones back home are safe.
“The worst part is the uncertainty. When I go to sleep and when my parents go to sleep, we don’t know what we’re going to wake up to,” said Nikita Dromin, whose family is in Ukraine.
They also had plenty of criticism for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“What Putin does is wrong on all levels, it’s inhumane, it’s cruel. How can you put people through suffering like that?” said Maksym Varenyk, whose grandmother is in Ukraine.
Anyone wishing to join the protests on Saturday will have a couple of opportunities to do so.
At 9 a.m., protesters are gathering at 4800 Hollywood Blvd. in East Hollywood, with plans to begin a march at 10 a.m.
At 1 p.m., demonstrators are gathering at 11111 Santa Monica Blvd. in Sawtelle.