At a pro-Ukraine rally, priests prayed for the dead and diplomats hoped for peace.

WASHINGTON – Just above the Reflection Pool, on the steps leading to the Lincoln Memorial, hundreds of people gathered on Sunday to remember the roughly 14,000 Ukrainian lives lost since 2014 in skirmishes with Ukraine. Russian-backed separatists in the east of the country.

Among the attendees were Oksana Markarova, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, and two former US diplomats – Marie Yovanovitch, US ambassador recalled from Kyiv and was fired by then-President Donald J. Trump in 2019 and William B. Taylor Jr., who served as ambassador to Ukraine after Yovanovitch’s departure until January 2020.

A long string of speakers addressed the crowd at the “Stand With Ukraine” rally on a chilly afternoon, including a group of priests from the Ukrainian Orthodox, Greek Catholic and Orthodox churches Ukrainian Catholics sang Panychida – a memorial prayer for those who died in the conflict.

“Many of us feel that we need to do more and show Ukraine and show the world that,” said Maryna Baydyuk, president of United Help Ukraine, one of the groups that organized the protest. The American people support Ukraine.

Baydyuk, an assistant professor of biological studies at Georgetown University who was born in Kyiv and came to the United States in 1997, said her team has sent medical supplies to Ukraine for soldiers as well as for units Territorial defenses are made up of civilians and ex-soldiers.

“We still hope that diplomacy will prevail and we can stop massive bloodshed in Ukraine. Honestly, at this point, most of us are pretty scared that invasion is going to happen,” Ms. Baydyuk said, noting that her parents and sister in Kyiv had identified a bunker. bombs that they could come and have planned to evacuate. Necessary.

Ms. Markarova, Ukraine’s ambassador, noted that the US has increased aid to her country and said she hopes a diplomatic solution can be found to restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

“If you are talking about a country on the verge of being attacked, of course we need more than that,” Ms. Markarova said in an interview. “But we’re grateful for the support we’re getting now.”

“We are now asking the United States and all our partners to provide us with any defensive equipment and weapons they can provide us,” Ms. Markarova said. “We pray that we will never use it, but all of that will strengthen our offensive and defensive capabilities and will also deter Russia by showing what the cost of aggression will be.” too high for them.”

Ms. Markarova said that Russia’s territorial goals would threaten Poland and the Baltic states.

“It is a threat to anyone who has chosen democracy and freedom,” she said of Russia. “So that’s why it’s so important for all of the free world to stand with us. Because it won’t end for us, if they attack us.”

Yovanovitch, a former US ambassador, reiterated concerns that the crisis poses a broader threat to European security.

“I think it’s really important that the free world is on Ukraine’s side because Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine, the buildup of troops and tanks at an unprecedented level, not only violates the security of Ukraine. Ukraine, but also a threat to European security and a threat to the international world order,” Ms. Yavonovitch said in an interview.

Mr. Taylor, who served as ambassador after Yavonovitch was fired, said he was glad the Biden administration and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky remained united.

“I’d like to see them continue to stand,” Mr. Taylor said of the US and Ukraine governments. “Continue to send weapons, increase the flow of weapons and weapons sophistication to make Ukraine militarily stronger and then convince President Putin not to invade and come to the negotiating table.” At a pro-Ukraine rally, priests prayed for the dead and diplomats hoped for peace.

Fry Electronics Team

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