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'It’s devastating, it’s exhausting': Ukrainians gather at Colorado Capitol as Russia invades their country

Ukrainians gathered at the Colorado Capitol to denounce Russia's invasion of their country.
Leigh Paterson
Ukrainians gathered at the Colorado Capitol to denounce Russia's invasion of their country.

Ukrainians living in Colorado assembled at the state Capitol today to condemn Russia and show support for their country. Many in the crowd held blue and yellow Ukrainian flags and anti-Putin signs.

Oleksandra Chub, whose entire family lives in western Ukraine, said she feels very far away from them right now.

“It’s devastating. It’s exhausting… I’m just broken,” Chub said.

She said came to the Capitol on this sunny, frigid Thursday afternoon because of misunderstandings about what is happening on the ground.

“It’s not a civil war. It’s not a special operation. It’s not an invasion. It’s full-scale war,” Chub said.

State lawmakers inside the Capitol building held a moment of silence for Ukrainians and condemned Russia’s actions earlier this morning.

“If there’s something we could do to stop it in this chamber to stop it we would do it,” Rep. Matt Gray (D) said. “We can’t, but I just think about each and every individual who is living with incredible fear and uncertainty this morning.”

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet made the following statement: “The United States, coordinating with our allies and partners, must punish Putin immediately for his unprovoked aggression. We should impose the full weight of economic sanctions right now, explore options to bolster the Ukrainian resistance, and stand resolute in our support of democracy and the rule of law.”

Andrii Panchenko, who came to live in Denver with his wife for the mountains and outdoor lifestyle, said his parents could hear fighting from their home in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital.

“If the U.S. government doesn’t help, Putin don’t stop in Ukraine,” Panchenko said. “If you don’t want to help in Ukraine, he’ll go into Poland, Germany, another country.”

As KUNC's Senior Editor and Reporter, my job is to find out what’s important to northern Colorado residents and why. I seek to create a deeper sense of urgency and understanding around these issues through in-depth, character driven daily reporting and series work.
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