Ukraine

Rally Held in Boston on ‘Ukraine Day,' as Rep. Lynch Compares Putin to Hitler

Congressman Stephen Lynch was among those who spoke out at the Copley Square rally on Sunday, saying, "Make no mistake, Vladimir Putin is as much a war criminal and gangster as Adolf Hitler was in his day."

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A large group of people gathered in Boston on Sunday to show their continued support for those suffering in Ukraine for the past year, including Congressman Stephen Lynch and Mayor Michelle Wu.

The Ukrainian Cultural Center of New England commemorated “365 days of defending freedom,” as this weekend marked a full year since Russian forces invaded Ukraine, killing thousands of people, leaving millions homeless and destroying people's lives.

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Estimates of the casualties, refugees and economic fallout from the war produce an incomplete picture of the deaths and suffering.

The events started at 2 p.m. with a Stand with Ukraine Rally at Copley Square in Boston, followed by an exhibit at 3 p.m. where photos chronicled the ongoing war. Then at 5 p.m., there was a Holy Eucharist with Litany for Ukraine During a Time of War at Trinity Church Boston, a joint prayer for Ukraine for people of different denominations and religious communities in the city.

It's been a year since Russia invaded Ukraine, the largest war on European soil since World War II.

There was a lot of emotion from both Ukrainian people who have lost loved ones and people in Boston who feel deeply for those suffering. Anger, frustration and sadness were all on display Sunday, but so too were hopefulness and thankfulness.

Rep. Lynch was among those who spoke out at the Copley Square rally, saying, "Make no mistake, Vladimir Putin is as much a war criminal and gangster as Adolf Hitler was in his day."

In more powerful words, Lynch called Russia's invasion on Ukraine lawless, brutal, and savage, but he reassured the Ukrainian people that the United States -- and Massachusetts -- supports them. Mayor Wu even declared Feb. 26, 2023, "Ukraine Day" in the City of Boston.

These last few days have been very difficult for Sashko Horokh, an MIT student from Ukraine who thinks about the level of fear this time last year. She says sadly, the nightmare is becoming worse.

"My home was being destroyed, my friends were being killed one by one. My family and everything I loved was in danger," Horokh said.

"My high school classmates who are just 20 years old are on the front lines. One of them already died," she added, noting that she's lost even more friends.

It has been 365 days of fighting and 365 days of pain, according to Suffolk University student Nika Chelnokova, who reflected Sunday on how the pain is hard to bear as the fight continues.

But there was a message of hope on Sunday, too, as Ukrainians felt people standing with them.

"They feel that they are not alone. They are not left alone, that’s very important," said Ivanka Roberts, president of the Ukrainian Cultural Center of New England.

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