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Home News Prince Albert Ukrainian community saddened, angered by Russian attack

Prince Albert Ukrainian community saddened, angered by Russian attack

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Prince Albert Ukrainian community saddened, angered by Russian attack
A Ukrainian flag flaps in the breeze. - Photo from freeimages.com

For Taras Kachkowski, the last day has been a blur of social media activity.

The Prince Albert resident and member of the Veselka Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Club has kept a close eye for updates from Ukraine. News that Russian tanks had crossed the border between the two countries brought a whole mixture of emotions, but the biggest was concern for his friends who still live there.

“I was sad. I was worried. I was angry. I was frustrated. All of that rolled into one I would say,” Kachkowski explained during a phone interview Thursday evening. “I think that’s probably very similar to what anyone else of Ukrainian descent, or anyone who pays attention to world affairs, would probably answer.”

Kachkowski has visited Ukraine several times. He has distant cousins there, as well as close friends. Some of those friends are people he met during his visits, while others are close friends from Canada who moved to Ukraine as adults.

One Canadian friend who now lives in Kyiv with her husband posted a video on Facebook saying they were safe, but concerned.

“The situation is obviously a dangerous one,” Kachkowski said. “They’re safe and sound for the moment at least. They told us, just keep supporting, keep praying.’ That’s all we can do from this side of the pond.”

Prayer is something many Prince Albert residents of Ukrainian descent are turning to following news of the attack. On Thursday, Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Prince Albert organized a special service to pray for the end the fighting in Ukraine.

Father Michal Lomaszkiewicz said special prayer services like this could be held multiple times per week, depending on whether the fighting continues.

“We are a Christian community, and this is our tool to fight against evil,” Lomaszkiewicz said. “We can’t fight by real weapons and ammunition now, but we can bring our community together in unity, no matter if they’re believers or not.”

Lomaszkiewicz has a Ukrainian background, but was born in Poland—a country that has a large minority Ukrainian population. Poland is also one of several countries bracing to receive waves of refugees.

Lomaszkiewicz has family on his wife’s side who are still in Ukraine. He said it’s been a difficult time, but they’re still hopeful peace will prevail.

“My wife’s family lives there now and they worry,” he said. “They worry. It’s a hard time to talk. Too many emotions, but we believe that everything will be good. We have to believe in good. We can’t believe in evil.”

Ukrainian Catholics also condemned Russia’s attack on Wednesday. The Eparchy of Saskatoon, which represents 84 Ukrainian Catholic Parishes in Saskatchewan, released a statement calling on all members to pray for the Ukrainian government, people and clergy.

Bishop Bryan Bayda, who leads the Eparchy, called on clergy to keep their churches open throughout the day so parishioners could come and pray together.

“We ask you to spend whatever time you can in our churches, in both silent and public prayer,” reads a statement from Bayda posted on the Eparchy’s Facebook page.

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress organized rallies across the province on Wednesday as a show of support for Ukrainian people. Supporters gathered in Saskatoon, Regina, and Yorkton, but no event is planned for Prince Albert yet.

Kachkowski said he was disappointed there was no Prince Albert rally, given the City’s large Ukrainian population. He’s told the congress he’s happy to be a point man to help organize a show of support in the future.

He’s hoping world leaders will stiffen their spine and stand up to Russian president Vladimir Putin. If they don’t, Kachkowski worries Ukraine could be in for more trouble.

“The time for being hesitant and trying to be non-committal and neutral is over,” he said. “Whether we want war or not, Putin brought it to the world and it needs to be addressed.”