Ukrainian Americans living in Connecticut are anxiously watching after the Russian military invaded Ukraine early Thursday, while the Connecticut congressional delegation came out hard denouncing the invasion.
Myron Melnyk, who lives in New Haven, said he spoke to his cousin in Ukraine Thursday morning. Melnyk said his cousin lives in a rural area in the west of the country, so he’s not too concerned for him right now, but the future does not feel so hopeful.
Melnyk said he and his cousin believe Russian President Vladimir Putin intends to take control of Ukraine. “His feeling is the same as mine — Putin will not stop until he topples this government, until he puts in his own puppet government,” Melnyk said. “That one person should look to overcome the will of a nation that voted overwhelmingly for independence.”
Ukrainian Americans planned to hold a vigil at St. Michael the Archangel Ukrainian Catholic Church in New Haven Thursday at 7 p.m.
St. Mary’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church in New Britain planned a vigil at 6 p.m., also streamed on YouTube.
CT delegation decries invasion
U.S. Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal expressed support for Ukrainians while condemning Putin.
“Putin’s decision to invade is an evil, panicked move of weakness and will be his defining mistake. The Ukrainian people will fight for as long as it takes to secure their nation from this foreign tyrant, and the United States will stand with them,” Murphy said in a tweet late Wednesday.
Murphy is on the Foreign Relations Committee.
Blumenthal called for further sanctions against Russia and expressed U.S. support for those living in the Ukraine.
“Costs & consequences must be swift, severe, & strong meeting Putin’s attack on the post-WWII world order. It is far past time to fully sanction Russia, Putin, & his oligarchs,” Blumenthal tweeted Thursday morning.
Connecticut’s delegation in the U.S. House had a similar reaction.
In a statement, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes said that by invading Ukraine, Putin has chosen to ignore warnings by the U.S. and other nations. Himes said the decision will bring terrible consequences in the form of sanctions. And Himes warned that if Putin does not withdraw all troops, he risks an escalation that will not end well for him or his regime.
U.S. Rep. John Larson also released a statement in support of Ukraine and its people.
“The invasion of Ukraine by Russia is unwarranted and dangerous. NATO, the US, the EU, and our allies and partners are united in confronting Russian aggression, and together, we have imposed severe sanctions on Russia,” Larson said in a statement Thursday. “There will be a profound human cost to their actions, both to troops on both sides of this conflict and to the innocent civilians caught in the crossfire. This is a humanitarian and refugee crisis.”
Jennifer Ahrens and Jim Welch of Connecticut Public contributed to this report.