Southwest Florida rallies for Ukraine

Published: Updated:
A group of Southwest Floridians gathered in south Fort Myers to protest for Ukraine. (CREDIT: WINK News)

Lydia Bilous has pain in her knees.

But every night she kneels to pray for Ukraine, her home country.

“It’s painful but it’s not the pain that’s going through Ukraine. So I want to help with my pain, I’m with Ukraine,” Bilous said.

It’s hard not to feel her pain.

She sees Russians bomb her homeland, kill her countrymen and women, so she prays.

And she’s not alone.

“We pray that God will intervene and stop it,” said Viktor Antipov, senior pastor at the House of Mercy Church in North Port.

Ukraine is Anna Beach’s homeland.

“My kids bear Ukrainian names,” Beach said. “That’s where my, my thoughts, my traditions, my values were formed.”

Serhyg Pasishnyk, a professor at Florida SouthWestern State College who is Ukrainian, said the country does not deserve what it’s going through.

As the war rages in its second week, the world sees the bravery of those willing to die for its fight.

“They refuse to give up their home any more than anyone in America would want to move out of their house and give it up,” said Bohdana Puzyk, president of the North Port branch of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America.

“I feel terrible of course and full of hatred and how dare you, why,” Pasishnyk said.

The United States is banking economic pressure will stop Russian President Vladimir Putin but so far, there is no sign Putin will order his forces to retreat.

“Nobody, until now, has had enough spirit to stop him, to slap him in the face,” Pasishnyk said. “Ukraine is the first one, so maybe this tradition will continue.”

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