Detroit supports Ukraine as country marks Independence Day, 6 months since invasion

Posted at 10:24 PM, Aug 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-24 23:11:38-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — Dozens gathered in downtown Detroit Wednesday night to celebrate 31 years since Ukraine gained its independence.

It also marks six months since Russia invaded the country.

Ukrainians living in metro Detroit wanted to be seen and heard. Many of them have family back home who live in fear every day.

Detroit may be worlds away from a war zone, but Ukrainian pride very much lives here.

A sea of blue and yellow flags were flowing proudly in downtown Detroit near the Joe Louis fist statue.

Rally organizer Oleksandr Kanievsky left the city of Kyiv three years ago. He and others with ties to the war-stricken country are happy to have the community's support.

"That's great that people can feel and percept what is happening," Kanievsky said.

It is a bittersweet day considering it marks six months since the war started and Ukraine's Independence Day.

"Today, a railway station in the town of Chaplyne was bombed," Kateryna Denysenko said. "It is not far away from my native house, and my parents are still there.

"Every time they wake up, rockets are flying."

At least 22 people were killed in the Russian strike. Denysenko says she escaped Ukraine last month.

She's grateful for the two women who took her in, but she prays for the day she can return home.

"It's hard because you're not traveling, you're just here because you're like a refugee," Denysenko said. "Because you can't live in your country."

Unfortunately, there are so many stories like Denysenko's.

She's proud of her country and thankful the U.S. stepped in to help.

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden announced plans to send $3 billion in aid.

Former NATO Representative to Ukraine Natalie Melnyccuk says this war is a fight for democracy, which should matter to everyone.

"Those who are complacent or choose not to notice are missing an opportunity to help out humanity and I think if we all stand and work together, the better of us will prevail," Melnyccuk said.

Kanievsky says many of Ukrainian friends and family back home couldn't celebrate independence and that's why this rally was so special.

Related: Community honors Ukraine as war hits 6 months, Independence Day nears