Dozens gather downtown to rally for Ukraine, remind public that war is not over

NOW: Dozens gather downtown to rally for Ukraine, remind public that war is not over

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Dozens of Ukrainians gathered in Downtown Milwaukee Sunday afternoon, donning blue and yellow flags and protest signs - a reminder that their country is still in the midst of a deadly war with Russia.

It has been six months since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The Milwaukee branch of Wisconsin Ukrainians, a non-profit group, hosted Sunday's rally to bring awareness to the thousands of civilian lives lost in the ongoing war.

"I really encourage people to not ignore what's going on. I know the summer has been nice and it's so easy to just pretend that things are normal, but unfortunately, it's not the case for a lot of people in Ukraine," said Karina Tweedell with Wisconsin Ukrainians.

The gathering featured group prayer, song and powerful speeches.

"How many Ukrainians have to die in order for us to stop that war?' said Halyna Salapata, a board member of Wisconsin Ukrainians.

Speeches on Sunday condemned the pain caused by Russian forces in Ukraine, calling Russia a country of terrorism.

"Russians are killing civilians, Russians are killing our soldiers who are protecting Ukrainian land, Russians are raping our women and kids, and it's nothing less than a genocide of Ukrainian people," Salapata said.

Many Ukrainians living in Milwaukee have direct family members still in Ukraine. They believe the American support has been crucial and recognized.

"My friends and family say they are so grateful they are not forgotten, and that gives strength to the troops that are fighting," Tweedell said.

They want the American public to understand that it's more than just a conflict of territory.

"Some think Ukrainians are fighting for their land. It's not just for their land. It's for their freedom," Salapata said.

Rally organizers said the easiest way for the public to send help to Ukraine is through donations by clicking here. Those donations go straight to those in need in Ukraine. So far, the website has raised almost $134,000.

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