Austin Ukrainians Unite at Texas Capitol Amid Russia-Ukraine War
By Teresa Gutierrez
Reporting Texas TV
AUSTIN, Texas – A local group of Ukrainians rallied March 5 at the Texas Capitol to protest against Russia’s attacks on Ukraine.
Attendees organized through the Facebook group, Austin TX UKRAINIANS, which now has more than 2,000 members. The group began holding rallies almost daily in late February.
Tensions between Russia and Ukraine date back to the 1990s, when Ukraine declared its independence. On Feb. 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin commanded an official, full-scale invasion of Ukraine, claiming it as part of Russia and spreading disinformation about the Ukrainian government.
“It’s not true at all,” said Iaroslav Dletef, an attendee at the rally who moved to Austin from Ukraine two years ago.
Many members of Austin’s Ukrainian community moved to the city in recent years. Some still have family in Ukraine, including one of the Facebook group’s administrators, Katereyna Voinova.
“So our family can be safe… they can continue living. This is the one wish every Ukrainian now [has],” Voinova said.
Julia Nikitina also helped organize the group’s rallies. She and her daughter moved to the U.S. four years ago. Like Voinova, Nikitina and her daughter are worried about their family still in Ukraine.
“She’s afraid for her grandfather… her cousins. She’s seven-years-old,” Nikitina said.
Both Voinova and Nikitina ask supporters to continue rallying, make donations for humanitarian relief and help fund supplies for the Ukrainian military.
The Austin-Ukrainian community has also created a website, txukrainians.com, with information on where to send donations, medical aid drives and attending rallies both in and outside of Austin.
Austin TX UKRAINIANS members continue to post events, resources, and discussions in the Facebook group every day. Rallies at the Texas Capitol are scheduled every day for the rest of this week.
“We just like [a] peaceful country,” Dletef said.
“We just want to love our country, and that’s all.”