Stand with Ukraine: Utah rallies for Ukrainians, denounces Putin


The Utah State Capitol lights up in blue and yellow to help Ukraine in Salt Lake Metropolis on Monday. Utahns and Ukrainians confirmed their solidarity for the nation that is below siege from Russia’s army throughout a rally. (Mengshin Lin, Deseret Information)

Estimated learn time: 9-10 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY — Because the solar set on the steps of the Utah Capitol on Monday, golden gentle filtered via dozens of blue and yellow Ukrainian flags flying over the heads of Utahns — and Ukrainians — who had come to point out their solidarity for the nation that is below siege from Russia’s army.

An estimated 2,000 folks gathered on the steps to face with Ukraine, together with state leaders together with Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson, Senate President Stuart Adams, Home Speaker Brad Wilson and Salt Lake Metropolis Mayor Erin Mendenhall.

“Our Ukrainian pals are reminding us what it means to be American,” Cox mentioned in his speech to the gang. “They want us. They want a united us. They want the perfect of us. And we want them.”

He additionally had a message for Russian civilians: “We don’t maintain you answerable for the actions of a mad man.” He urged them to push again. “We all know your lives are in peril … You are placing your individual lives in danger to face as much as a dictator, and we want your assist to cease him.”

Cox mentioned photographs of the horror are coming from Ukraine as harmless lives are misplaced, houses are destroyed and households are damaged aside, and Ukrainians are “assembly their second in ways in which have introduced tears to all of our eyes.”

“It’s breathtaking, and it’s inspiring. Well-known folks. Common folks. Ambassadors. Boxers. Faculty lecturers. Mothers. Dads. Presidents. All standing as much as a maniacal, highly effective tyrant,” Cox mentioned. “We have watched them combat. It has stirred our souls.”


Our Ukrainian pals are reminding us what it means to be American. They want us. They want a united us. They want the perfect of us. And we want them.

–Gov. Spencer Cox


But it surely’s greater than a “nice underdog story,” the governor added. “I consider Ukrainians are preventing for the very issues that sit on the basis of our personal nation. … They’re preventing for all times, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Cox, whereas urging Utahns and People to place their variations apart and unite for Ukraine and the combat for freedom, introduced that for the second time in Utah’s historical past, Monday evening “we’ll gentle the Capitol” with Ukraine’s blue and yellow colours. The one different time it has been finished was for the 2002 Olympic Video games in Salt Lake Metropolis.

Alexandra V. and Dima P. hold a sign during a prayer to support Ukraine at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Monday.
Alexandra V. and Dima P. maintain an indication throughout a prayer to help Ukraine on the Capitol in Salt Lake Metropolis on Monday. (Picture: Mengshin Lin, Deseret Information)

“Tonight I ask that we observe the instance of our courageous sisters and brothers in Ukraine and recommit ourselves to self-evident fact and unalienable rights,” Cox mentioned. “Could we pledge our lives and our souls to uniting them and becoming a member of them within the combat for all times, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

Wilson, Adams, Henderson and Mendenhall additionally spoke on the rally, sharing comparable messages of unity and love for Ukrainians.

Henderson, quoting Sen. Mitt Romney, known as Putin a “small, evil, feral-eyed man,” and mentioned he “deserves each little bit of scorn and condemnation for his evil actions.” Nevertheless, Henderson added “we have seen bravery by a few of the folks in Russia who’ve taken to the streets in protest in opposition to his lies and aggression.”

“They too will undergo the results of this unprovoked warfare with Ukraine, so please preserve the Russian folks near your coronary heart as effectively,” Henderson mentioned. “We’ll stand tall with anybody who has the ethical braveness to combat for freedom, justice, and better beliefs within the face of a bitter tyrant.”

Many who got here to the rally carried indicators studying “Down with Putin” and “No Conflict,” together with posters of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s face and his now world well-known quote, “I would like ammunition, not a trip.”

Dozens of Utah lawmakers additionally stood on the steps, at one level unraveling and standing below rolls of paper to signify Ukraine’s flag.

In the course of the rally, a violinist performed Ukraine’s nationwide anthem. Some voices within the crowd could possibly be heard singing the anthem as she performed. The gang additionally broke out into a number of chants, together with one to “cease Putin” and one other for Zelenskyy.

Earlier Monday, the Utah Legislature unanimously voted in favor of a decision to denounce “Russia’s unjustified invasion of Ukraine.” The governor additionally ordered the Ukrainian flag to fly over the Utah Capitol.

‘It is insane’

To Sergiy Gamanyuk, a person who moved from the Ukrainian metropolis of Mykolaiv about 5 years in the past, the rally in Utah’s capital of Salt Lake Metropolis was a bodily illustration of the love and help Ukraine’s allies are sending from across the globe. Even in Utah, a western state of about 3.2 million folks.

“It is crucial for them to listen to the help,” he mentioned, including that he wished the U.S. might do extra, maybe by providing provides, medical help and extra.

He, too, got here to help his nation, his household and his pals who at the moment are attempting to outlive “in these darkish instances … this unprovoked and utterly fascist invasion from the federal government of Russia,” he mentioned.

“I discuss to them on daily basis,” Gamanyuk mentioned of his family and friends in Ukraine, who he mentioned are hiding in basements to remain secure as a result of the vast majority of the bunkers in his metropolis grew to become rusted after World Conflict II.

Yevgen Kovalov holds a Ukraine flag in front of the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Monday.
Yevgen Kovalov holds a Ukraine flag in entrance of the Capitol in Salt Lake Metropolis on Monday. (Picture: Mengshin Lin, Deseret Information)

“It’s totally exhausting … it is insane.”

He mentioned he scours the information and checks in continually on their security. “I am attempting to be there for them. We’ll see what is going on to occur, however I hope it will cease.”

He was momentarily perplexed when requested what may be finished for them.

“One way or the other, cease Putin,” he mentioned. “I do not know.”

However then he added Western society — “free society” — should attempt to “discuss to each attainable individual in Russia proper now and assist them perceive what’s really happening, as a result of propaganda” from the Russian authorities is “insane.”

“There’s a whole lot of sensible folks, a whole lot of good folks over there who simply don’t perceive, have no idea what’s going on,” Gamanyuk mentioned.

A Utah man, Gary Nilsen, of Taylorsville, carried two small Ukrainian flags in his arms as he stood on the steps among the many crowd. He spoke in a quiet voice, compelled to point out his help for a rustic on the opposite facet of the world however near his coronary heart.

Nilsen known as the Russian authorities’s actions “atrocious.”

“It tears my coronary heart as much as see this taking place,” Nilsen mentioned, however he added he is “impressed” by Zelenskyy and “the military of individuals which might be defending the nation. I pray for them from the depths of my coronary heart.”

Gov. Spencer J. Cox speaks to hundreds of people gathered to support Ukraine at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Monday.
Gov. Spencer J. Cox speaks to lots of of individuals gathered to help Ukraine on the Capitol in Salt Lake Metropolis on Monday. (Picture: Mengshin Lin, Deseret Information)

Trying round on the rally, Nilsen mentioned “the help in Utah might be as robust as wherever on this planet.”

“Have a look at the folks right here tonight. Nothing however God-fearing, patriotic, freedom-loving folks. What an exquisite tribute,” he mentioned. “I simply hope and pray that cooler minds prevail over there. … I hope Putin sees the harm that he is doing to his nation, to his fellow males, in addition to to Ukrainians, and he’ll sue for peace.”

Is Utah going to obtain refugees from Ukraine?

The invasion of Ukraine has left lots of of hundreds displaced.

Based on estimates from the U.N. and the Worldwide Rescue Committee, about 100,000 folks have been internally displaced since Russian forces invaded — that means they’ve been pressured to flee their houses however are nonetheless in Ukraine — whereas as much as 520,000 made it throughout the border and are making use of for asylum in European international locations.

Within the coming weeks, the U.N. expects that quantity to shoot as much as 4 million.

On Thursday, White Home press secretary Jen Psaki mentioned the Biden Administration was “actually ready” to soak up Ukrainian refugees, however officers “anticipate that almost all, if not the bulk, will wish to go to Europe or neighboring international locations.”

In Utah, resettlement companies say it is too quickly to foretell whether or not any Ukrainians fleeing the disaster will find yourself within the Beehive State. In the event that they do, it will not occur quickly, because the refugees have simply begun a resettlement course of that may generally take years.

“The fact of us getting Ukrainian refugees right now might be fairly low,” mentioned Natalie El-Deiry, government director of the Worldwide Rescue Committee in Salt Lake Metropolis.

Versus the chaotic evacuation of Afghanistan, the place in a matter of days hundreds of individuals had been granted humanitarian parolee standing and ushered via the gates of the Kabul airport, most of those refugees will undergo a much more extended course of.

Humanitarian parolees probably meet the {qualifications} for a particular immigrant visa, however within the case of Afghanistan, the U.S. Embassy didn’t have time to course of their paperwork throughout the evacuation.

The refugees fleeing violence in Ukraine, nonetheless, will undergo the standard vetting course of that usually takes between 18 to 36 months. Even then, with neighboring international locations keen to just accept Ukrainians, most will most likely select to remain in Japanese Europe.

“The choice of people is to nonetheless stay considerably near dwelling,” El-Deiry mentioned.

That is assuming these fleeing violence cannot return to Ukraine — “the hope is all the time that they’ll return dwelling,” El-Deiry mentioned. And given how briskly the scenario is unfolding, with over 500,000 folks displaced in simply 5 days, the humanitarian disaster might spiral, opening new pathways for resettlement much like what occurred in Afghanistan.

“At present, we do not understand how the scenario in Ukraine will affect refugee resettlement in the USA, or particularly in Utah,” Catholic Neighborhood Companies of Utah mentioned in an announcement. “Ought to the scenario in Europe escalate to the purpose of resettling Ukrainian refugees in the USA, Catholic Neighborhood Companies of Utah’s Migration and Refugee Companies crew is raring and able to help nonetheless attainable.”

Each the Worldwide Rescue Committee and Catholic Neighborhood Companies are at present working to supply humanitarian help like meals, shelter and clothes to Ukrainian refugees. Each organizations say one of the best ways to assist is to donate, and “educate your self, and really perceive what the battle is about,” mentioned El-Deiry.

Sophia Baikoush, left, holds a flag of Ukraine at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Monday.
Sophia Baikoush, left, holds a flag of Ukraine on the Capitol in Salt Lake Metropolis on Monday. (Picture: Mengshin Lin, Deseret Information)

The place are the Ukrainian refugees being resettled?

Most refugees are at present in Poland, the place officers just lately mentioned they might subject as much as 1 million refugees because the invasion unfolds. Round 280,000 have been settled within the nation to date, in keeping with the most recent depend from the U.N. Human Rights Council.

The U.N. estimates 36,400 are at present in Moldova, 32,500 in Romania and 30,000 in Slovakia.

Hungary reversed course on its yearslong opposition to accepting refugees, typically coming from the Center East, Africa and Asia, and opened its borders to just about 84,500 Ukrainians as of Monday, a determine that features third-country nationals that may show Ukrainian residency.

In a joint assertion, the Salt Lake Metropolis Catholic Diocese and Catholic Neighborhood Companies urged leaders world wide to organize to resettle refugees fleeing the violence.

“We be a part of with Pope Francis in his name for prayer and fasting for peace in Ukraine and the safety of harmless lives. We encourage our authorities leaders to welcome any Ukrainian refugees displaced by these mindless acts of aggression and urge folks to assist our Ukrainian brothers and sisters by donating to the efforts of Catholic Reduction Companies, which is already serving folks in want in Ukraine. Ought to the scenario escalate to the purpose of resettling Ukrainian refugees in the USA, Catholic Neighborhood Companies of Utah’s Migration and Refugee Companies crew is raring to help.”

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