Anchorage holds candlelight vigil in support of Ukraine

Alaskans Stand with Ukraine holds event in support of country being invaded by Russia
Alaskans Stand with Ukraine holds event in support of Ukraine
Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 11:00 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) -The Municipality of Anchorage is standing with Ukraine, as Wednesday night an event was held to show support for the country ravaged by Russian aggression.

At the Anchorage Town Square Park, people from all over town put their differences aside for one night to stand in solidarity with Ukraine. The Anchorage Stands with Ukraine candlelight vigil was organized by Alaskans Stand with Ukraine. Hundreds of people attended the event holding signs and flags and wearing blue and yellow clothing in support of Ukraine.

Elana Habib, who helped organize the event, said the world is currently seeing a country potentially losing its independence, which is tragic to her.

“We are in a country of independence, and our culture is to really support independence of people, and currently what we are seeing is an attempted loss of independence and that’s what touches me,” Habib said.

She added the events also touch close to home for her. Her partner’s cousin is in the capitol city of Kyiv.

“She is in a shelter underneath an entire apartment complex trying to keep safe. Everyday we want to know, ’Are you alive or not?’,” Habib said. “She sends us a message that she is alive.”

Elected officials, including Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson, spoke Wednesday about the recent events, which some people in attendance said are unlike anything the world has seen since World War II.

“We stand with those who stand for freedom and democracy. Everywhere in this country, and I guess especially in Ukraine,” Bronson said.

Other people in attendance gave personal testimony about what loved ones are dealing with.

”I am still worried about people who can’t leave, can’t escape this military attack by Russia,” Liliya Huseynova said. Huseynova has deep ties to Ukraine, and was born there.

At the end of the night, many people hoped the event raised awareness in Anchorage and possibly helped aid funding to curb the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

“I am hoping eventually Ukrainians will be able to regain their independence and freedom. I am hoping that. It is going to be a long haul,” said attendee Michel Vilnon.

The Associated Press reported that at least one million refugees have fled Ukraine in just a week. At the same time, the United Nations said there have been at least 227 civilians killed in Ukraine since the invasion began. Those death tolls, however, have been noted as “likely undercounts.”

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