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'You have to stand up': Cincinnatians show and call for support for Ukraine

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Bill Rinehart
/
WVXU
Demonstrators stand outside Cincinnati's city hall to protest Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Supporters of Ukraine demonstrated at Fountain Square and outside Cincinnati City Hall Monday afternoon as fighting continues. People waved blue and yellow flags and sunflowers, Ukrainian symbols, to show support for the country, and to protest Russian aggression.

Members of Cincinnati's sister city organization with Kharkiv were among the demonstrators. The group's president, Bob Herring, says they want to do something concrete to help Ukrainians, but not just yet. "We want to wait and see how the situation stabilizes there. Will it be possible to send funds? Will there be a puppet Russian government? Will funds be detoured if we were to send them? We want to make sure that the support we give, the financial support, humanitarian support we give ends up in Kharkiv with the people that need it," he said.

Herring says they are on "pins and needles" waiting to hear from friends in Kharkiv. He says their contacts in Ukraine's second largest city are hunkering down to avoid the fighting.

Jody Grundy has led two delegations to Kharkiv as part of the sister city program and wants Americans to pay attention to what's happening there. "Once you really get to know people, and you've been there and you experience that, and you see them being slaughtered, it's just heart wrenching, it's just horrible."

Sybilka Storie Joachimiak says she thought about going to Poland to help with relief efforts, but is staying here for now to spread the word. "Even if something feels like it's very, very far away, and it doesn't affect your daily life, you do have to stand up. You do have to say when something is wrong, and resist. Because one day, it could be you that needs that help."