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Omaha rallies behind Ukraine for second week in a row as people share stories of loved ones

Published: Mar. 5, 2022 at 5:41 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - For the second week in a row, Omaha’s Ukrainian community showed up at one of the largest intersections in the city.

The rain didn’t stop people from showing up to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine at 72nd and Dodge Saturday afternoon.

Many people in the crowd had a specific message, they are asking NATO to close the airspace over Ukraine.

Many people in the crowd have family in Ukraine.

Fourteen-year-old Sophia Sokolovska came to the United States in late 2016 from Ukraine. While she lives here in Omaha with her parents, her grandparents and close friends are still living in Kyiv.

She says over the past 10 days, she has had some contact with her grandma and grandpa.

“They go downstairs in the bunker quite often and I’m just not sure when I am allowed to call them and when I’m not. Like I just don’t want to cause any danger you could say,” said Sokolovska.

Sophia says she’s watching everything unfold in her home country on TV.

“It is difficult because I am worried. Every single day I wake up with a prayer. I pray very often throughout the day because I’m really nervous.”

Sophia isn’t alone in her worry. Olexiy Panfilov has family in Ukraine, too.

He says right now his family is on the move. They are headed to the western part of the country where most of the family will stay for safety. From there some of the family will head back east.

“They are going to go back and take the weapons and fight against them, the men will go back to our homes and fight against the invasion,” said Panfilov.

Both Sophia and Olexiy’s families plan on staying in Ukraine. They say they will not leave their home.

“I’m really proud of our whole country and of my grandparents and all of my friends that are still in Ukraine because they are very strong. I’m just really proud of them,” said Sokolovska.

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