COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — Hundreds of people gathered on the steps of the State Capitol in Denver Thursday to rally in support of Ukraine amid the invasion by the Russian military. Many of the protestors are Ukrainian Americans including a former news anchor and reporter who now lives in Colorado Springs.
Olena Andrushchenko has slept very little in recent nights worrying about her family in Dnipro.
"It's my mom, my sister, and my niece who is three years old and they are all so scared," she said.
Andrushchenko moved to Colorado Springs two years ago with her husband who teaches at the US Air Force Academy. She said Thursday's rally in Denver gave her hope.
"It was so nice to get together with people from my country, and I felt some hope that we all together around the world, Ukrainians from Denver, from New York, from Chicago around the world stand up and be even stronger."
Americans shouldn't view the invasion as an isolated incident said Sky Foerster, a retired Air Force Colonel and Emeritus member of the Colorado Springs World Affairs Council. He has also taught national security studies at the US Air Force Academy, Colorado College, and Masaryk University in the Czech Republic.
"We can not be indifferent to this, this could go very bad, much worse, very quickly for a whole lot of unanticipated reasons."
Foerster explained that even though Ukraine is not a NATO member, it shares a border with many countries that are part of the alliance. Some of the fighting is happening in areas within 100 miles of the borders of those allied nations raising the risk for costly mistakes.
Additionally, the US made previous commitments to Ukraine after the fall of the Soviet Union.
"The United States back in 1992, made a commitment alongside Britain and Russia, Russia broke it, that basically said we will support the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of Ukraine, that's part of the deal that Ukraine gave up nuclear weapons," Foerster said.
He expects the sanctions announced Thursday by President Biden and other western nations to cause Russia economic pain in the weeks and months ahead. Like Foerster, Andrushchenko believes in the resolve of Ukrainian citizens to fight back.
"I believe like all Ukrainians, they will fight against the situation," she said. "They are so sick of Russia."
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