Ukrainians in Mass. Look Back on a Year of War, Ahead at Efforts to Defend and Rebuild

It has been a year since Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine; advocates in Massachusetts are reflecting on the pains of war

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From marches to rallies, Ukrainians now living in Massachusetts are marking one year since Russia's full-scale invasion.

It was a somber anniversary as they reflected on the pain and the resilience of the last year.

Bombs went off not far from where Julian D'Andre's family lived in Kyiv. The college student, who is now living in Quincy, said his mom has since relocated to a safer part of the country, but he is still worried about so many others.

"All of my friends are still alive, but some of them are fighting," he said. "I know someone who is 18 years old and fighting."

NBC10 Boston Political Commentator Sue O'Connell discusses the war in Ukraine one year after the Russian Invasion.

He recently went back to his home country and was able to document some of the rebuilding efforts that are now underway.

"People are trying to have some sort of normalcy, but it's difficult when you have this shadow because there's a war in your country," D'Andre said.

He plans on attending a Defending Freedom Ukraine Solidarity Rally at Copley Square on Sunday. The event starts at 2 p.m.

"Everyone still feels the effect," D'Andre said.

Some are marking the anniversary by reflecting on the impact they've had on Ukraine and the work that is still left to do.

Jennifer Hill of Belmont heads Refugee Protection International, a humanitarian nonprofit based in Massachusetts. The group has made a dozen trips to Ukraine since the war started, providing medical supplies and other aid on the ground. In January they made trips to two hospitals that were hit.

"Being there is honestly just numbing and shocking to the core," Hill said.

Refugee Protection International is hosting a fundraiser at Belmont Town Hall on March 3 that will feature Ukranian music, food and culture. They have more trips planned to Ukraine and said they will continue to go as long as there is a need.

"Rebuilding the infrastructure and rebuilding people's emotional stability is going to take enormous effort and support," Hill said.

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