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'We need to get done with it. Right now': Kitchener rally marks two years since the invasion of Ukraine

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Carl Zehr Square was awash in a sea of blue and yellow as a large group of people came together to mark two years since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The invasion first began when dozens of missiles rained down on cities across Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022.

Russian troops soon followed, seizing control of large areas of the country while bombing continued.

Ukrainian forces hit back, pushing the Russian invaders out of several key areas.

The war has waged on ever since, with some Ukrainian families fleeing to Canada in search of safety.

Kitchener rally

A large crowd gathered in Kitchener to show support for Ukraine and for the people who have come to Waterloo Region amid ongoing turmoil in their country.

Some attendees draped themselves in the yellow and blue flag of Ukraine and held signs emblazoned with “I stand with Ukraine.”

The gathering included cries of “Slava Ukraini,” a Ukrainian salute that translates to “Glory to Ukraine,” and songs of prayer for the people left behind.

“This event was organized by the Ukrainian Congress, Ukrainian World Congress and this is like over 400 cities participating at the same time,” Ukranian Canadian Congress Region of Waterloo vice president Tanya Chuchkevych said.

“Two years is a long time but I see the support is still there,” she said.

“Sometimes I’m crying because I’m so tired or disbelief but sometimes I’m crying because of the support. If help does not continue, if help does not increase, on many levels - you know sanctions, military support, financial, then Ukraine could lose and it would be devastating to everyone”

From Ukraine to Waterloo Region

One of the people at Saturday afternoon’s event was Roman Kaharlytskyi, a man from Ukraine now studying in Waterloo Region.

He recalled what it was like when the war began.

“At the time when Russia invaded Ukraine I was a student. I was living in my dormitory in the capital city and my friends knocked on the door at 5 a.m. and we woke up and heard the explosions in the city. So we started packing our things and trying to get out because Russian forces were coming from the north, from the Belarus border to the capital city.”

Kaharlytskyi told CTV News he stayed in Ukraine during the early months of the invasion, looking for work while trying to continue his studies remotely.

During that time, his mother was diagnosed with cancer, and she and his younger brother went to Poland for her treatment.

He joined them for a time, before getting an offer to continue his studies.

“I got accepted for this program and flew to Canada in May last year and I was accepted to the University of Waterloo and now I’m a student.”

Now, he stays in touch with his family back home, but worries about what may happen as explosions continue to rock Ukraine.

He said more needs to be done to stop the Russian forces that continue to threaten the country.

“Russia will not stop and we need to get done with it. Right now.”

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