Ukrainians in Colorado rally in solidarity with their homeland

Polis says state will ensure it’s not supporting Russia

Elizabeth Hernandez
The Denver Post
Vitali Tychshenko, center, joined more than 100 people gathered in support of Ukraine outside the Colorado Capitol building in Denver on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022.
Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post

As Russian troops waged war on their homeland, Ukrainians living in Colorado came together in solidarity outside the state Capitol on Thursday and Gov. Jared Polis announced the state will work to ensure it’s not financially supporting the Kremlin in any way.

Scores of people waving Ukrainian flags and hoisting signs bearing slogans including “Putin! Hands off Ukraine!” and “Support Ukraine, save democracy in the world!” filled the Capitol’s front steps. Colorado is home to about 11,000 Ukrainians, the governor’s office said.

Oleksandra Chub, 27, moved to Denver from Ukraine three years ago for work. She slogged through a sleepless night as she contacted family and friends in Ukraine amid explosions from attacks launched by Russian troops.

“They’re safe right now, but I don’t know what can happen tomorrow,” Chub said. “I’m really afraid, and I can’t go home. This is not a conflict. This is a full-scale war.”

Gov. Jared Polis announced new state actions Thursday in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. He condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin, urging Congress to suspend the federal gas tax and “double down on a rapid clean energy transition to ensure that our energy future cannot be tied to geopolitical conflicts and global commodities,” according to a news release from the governor’s office.

“Colorado will not stand for this attack on freedom and democracy,” Polis said in a statement. “Our country must make Putin pay and continue to use our economic power to push back on Russia’s aggressive invasion of Ukraine.”

Read more via The Denver Post.

Garfield County woman worried about family back home in Ukraine

In western Garfield County, Anastasia Brinkerhoff said the midweek snowstorm kept her from traveling to Denver to be part of the vigil on Capitol Hill.

Brinkerhoff, 35, came to Denver from the Ukraine about 10 years ago and got married. She now lives with her husband in Parachute.

On Thursday, she had been in contact with two of her aunts and several cousins who are in different parts of the country. Two of her cousins are in the Ukrainian Army.

“Since 3 in the morning I have not been sleeping,” said Brinkerhoff, who was born in the former Soviet Union and grew up in the city of Poltava, about 227 miles east of the capital city of Kyiv.

“We’re optimistic. They say the (Ukrainian military) is strong, but that there are too many of them (Russian troops),” she said.

Brinkerhoff is in the fashion design business, and now works remotely. She said she would typically travel to the Ukraine once a year with friends and to visit family. She’s part of a Facebook group called Ukrainians of Colorado, a network of mostly Denver-area Ukrainian immigrants.

“It’s very sad, and so stressful right now because we can’t do anything from here,” she said, adding she also worried that some in the Ukraine were not taking the situation seriously enough.

“I said to be prepared that this would happen, but some said they would go to vacation,” Brinkerhoff said. “I think it’s a big mistake to move out and leave your house, because it’s dangerous. I hope the U.S. and NATO can help.”

— John Stroud, Glenwood Springs Post Independent

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