BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – Ukrainian students living in the U.S. are closely watching the invasion with uneasiness and a sense of helplessness. On Friday, many gathered at the Louisiana State University’s International Cultural Center to share feelings of hope.
LSU students, staff and community members filled the room as professors and students took the microphone to share words of hope, knowledge, and passion.
“I am very proud to see so many people who are actually concerned about the current situation in Ukraine,” said Violita Kovalenko, a Ukrainian international student.
“Meeting Ukrainian people and having something to do, it’s really helping,” said another Ukrainian international student, Oleh Hrudskyi. “Because instead of staying at home and watching this terrible news, you do something.”
Many of these students are from the very areas that are being attacked right now. Being with others who understand the fear and frustration that they are feeling, gives them a level of comfort.
“It feels really scary because, you know, I wake up every one to two hours and I check news all the time and I am calling [my family] every 20 minutes because we have alarms because they throw missiles, and it’s really scary,” said Hrudisky.
Kovalenko said she does her best to stay informed on what is happening back home.
“I am always watching the news, and I am just trying to stay updated as much as I can,” Kovalenko said.
Diana Suleimanoca is an LSU student from the neighboring European country of Georgia. She made traditional Ukrainian food for everyone.
“I’m proud of the Ukrainian students that they stand for their country, their sovereignty, and their independence, and if there is anything that I can help with I am more than welcome, and they are more than welcome to have my support,” Suleimanova said.
“I am really happy that we together can make an impact. We can educate everyone, we can talk about what’s currently happening and I think it’s really important,” Kovalenko said.
The United Nations World Food Program fears families in embattled areas will lose access to food and water. The strategy now is to set up operations in neighboring countries. Those staging areas will then help deliver food into Ukraine and assist refugees coming over the borders.