MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Ukrainian Americans and supporters rallied in solidarity with Ukraine, after Russia launched a massive attack on the country Monday.
"People are terrified, but at the same time they're very angry, and they want Russians to know that Ukraine is a strong nation. And despite this terror, people are not going to give up. They're going to continue fighting," said Luda Anastazevsky, a board member at the Ukrainian American Community Center.
A few dozen people rallied at the Ukrainian American Community Center on Monday night before marching through northeast Minneapolis, waving blue and gold Ukrainian flags. Their hearts are with their loved ones in Ukraine.
"We are here to show that we are strong. Ukraine is a strong nation," said Oleksiy Khrystych, vice president of St. Katherine Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Arden Hills.
Several Ukrainian Americans in Minnesota woke up to terrifying messages from their friends and family in Ukraine.
"(I asked) ‘are you guys OK?’ and they’re like, ‘Yeah we're OK.’ I said, ‘I heard there is bombing,’ and they said, ‘there is, and it continues.’ It was really terrible and terrifying," said Anastazevsky, who has family in Kyiv, Ukraine.
"I was panicked calling my family to check on them and make sure that they are OK," said Daria Herasymova, whose Ukrainian hometown was targeted. "Of course, they were terrified."
The Russian missiles targeted cities across Ukraine. Russian President Vladimir Putin said it's a response to the weekend bombing of a key bridge in Crimea.
Minneapolis protesters held umbrellas to symbolize shielding the Ukrainian sky. They’re calling on the American government to provide weapons to support Ukraine and stand against Putin's government.
"He's done some civilian targeting of train stations and bus stations, but this is just blanket terror from above," said Howard Dotson, who has been on three missions in Ukraine since March.
The marchers want Americans to know that despite the Russian attacks, Ukrainians will prevail.
"By watching the news, and looking at all the memes and all the jokes that Ukrainians are making – this nation will stay. The Russians cannot just kill Ukrainians," Khrystych said.
Russian missile strikes caused blackouts in many parts of Ukraine and took out some critical infrastructure. Anastazevsky is calling on the American government to help restore the power systems before winter approaches.