Milwaukee Ukrainian Community stages protest against war in Ukraine after Sunday mass

NOW: Milwaukee Ukrainian Community stages protest against war in Ukraine after Sunday mass

MILWAUKEE, (CBS 58) -- Members of the Milwaukee-Ukrainian community gathered for church on the morning of Feb. 27, ahead of an anti-war protest at the sunburst sculpture on Wisconsin Ave in Milwaukee from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. for the first time since their home country was attacked by Russia.

Before the protest today-- you could find many in Milwaukee's Ukranian community at St. Michael's Ukrainian Catholic Church Sunday Mass.

Sadness could be seen in their faces as they prayed for peace and healing for Ukraine.

People like Krystia Nora, a university professor whose family immigrated from Ukraine, says she sees this as a continuation of what started eight years ago when Russia first invaded Crimea, which is why she protested on Feb. 27.

"To protest for peace, to stand with the Ukrainian people, this is significant," said Nora.

Nora protested on Feb. 27, along with Anya Nakonechna, who said she's been in contact with her friends and family in the Western part of Ukraine, who have been hiding as sirens go off.

She said their tone is starting to change.

"A couple of days ago all of their voices were very scared, but yesterday and today is another day and all of us, the community have grown stronger and we're doing the best that we can," said Nakonechna.

As new sanctions continue to come from the Biden administration and western world, more sanctions today are restricting many Russian banks from the critical swift payment system.

Members of the Milwaukee Ukrainian Community said they fear, like with Crimea, it won't stop here.

"Sanctions are not enough, they're still going to pry, Putin is very power hungry and it's not going to stop in Ukraine," said Nakonechna.

Both are proud as American citizens that the response has been so strong.

"We are so proud of this country for all that it is doing, for all the support that we are getting," said Nora, adding that the same goes for the international community. "Every single person on this planet who is standing up and saying this is wrong and we stand against it, I am so grateful, but especially to the Russian people who are standing against this and against their government."

As their family and friends face the Russian invasion head on, they are praying for peace, and that more help is on the way.

"Because when we do not fight freedom dies," said Nora.

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