NO WAR IN UKRAINE: Columbia residents rally against Russian invasion

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — Since Russian President Vladmir Putin ordered troops to invade neighboring Ukraine, global opposition to the aggression has broken out.

Midlands residents are also calling for an end to the war.

“We know that this is a fight between freedom and authoritarianism,” said David Matos, Carolina Peace Resource Center president.

“It’s not about borders. It’s about the heart. You should have a heart for the people that are dying in this war,” said Svetlana Tsygnok, Ukrainian native.

Tsyganok has lived in the United States for decades but is originally from Ukraine. With the United Nations reporting hundreds of casualties, she worries about her family back home.

“I’m glad to be in this country but I still have extended family in Ukraine,” Tsyganok said. “Right now, the Russians are bombing them.”

She says her family members are hiding in cellars, unable to come out due to fear of Russian snipers.

“They don’t have a place to eat. They don’t have a place to sleep. They just sleep on the floor,” Tsyganok said.

Carolina Peace Resource Center members and Columbia residents joined her to denounce the war and stand in solidarity with Ukrainians. However, most do not believe in military intervention.

“I don’t believe that meeting war with more war is ever the answer,” said Columbia resident Brence Walters. “For that reason, I think sanctions are all we can do besides standing against the violence.”

“We oppose US military intervention but we 100 percent support diplomatic pressure on the parties involved,” Matos said. “I think that’s the way to go but I’m realistic that might not happen.”

It’s why he says he understands why Ukrainian residents have had to resort to defending themselves.

Walters says he would be frightened to be in the shoes of someone his age in Ukraine.

“I try to imagine being in the situation that many of these people are in,” Walters said. “I imagine my government handing me an assault rifle and telling me to help defend our country. I imagine being a 24 year old male not being able to leave the country and it’s terrifying.”

The Carolina Peace Resource Center director believes that President Putin should face consequences for the aggression against Ukraine.

“If we let it go by without saying there’s a price to be paid without aggression, then it will happen again, again and again,” Matos said.

At the moment, Tsyganok just hopes that something can be done to make the skies above Ukraine a no fly zone.

“Block the sky,” she pleads. “Block the sky so they cannot bomb our cities.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr also calls for a no fly zone over the Ukraine. Today, he held peace talks with President Vladimir Putin. Those talks lasted five hours but have not yet been discussed. He says they will analyze that before deciding on a second round of peace talks. 

Categories: Local News, Richland