CHICAGO - Nearly two weeks since Russia invaded Ukraine, demands for an end to the bloodshed are becoming more urgent by the day.
"This war has got to stop, and it’s got to stop now," said Askold Kozbur, whose loved ones have fled Ukraine for Poland.
Determination to help Ukrainians is growing in Chicago and the suburbs.
On Wednesday, multiple efforts took place across the area.
"Hopefully it will symbolize unity," said River Forest Village President Cathy Adduci. "The Village of River Forest stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine."
As a Ukrainian flag was raised at River Forest Village Hall, community members of Ukrainian descent – and those in support of their message – gathered to share their stories.
"My mother is reliving the horror of being at the train station with thousands of other Ukrainians desperate to get out. She was seven," said Marta Kozbur, who still has family in Ukraine.
Like so many others, the unfolding war hits close to home for Marta Kozbur and her husband, Askold.
"We got in contact with my husband’s family this morning, and they actually left for Poland. They are safe, but they are devastated," said Marta Kozbur. "My family has not left. They are all holding firm. My uncle who is about 75 years old enlisted to be a street patrol, and we’re just praying for their safety."
Likewise, Anna Cook explained how difficult the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been on her own mother.
"Seeing the images coming from Ukraine now are just heart-wrenching because she thought that in her lifetime she would never have to see or experience that again," said Cook. "She just sits and cries and prays all day long, because she wishes she could do more, we all wish we could do more."
Meantime, humanitarian aid for Ukraine is being collected across Chicagoland.
On Wednesday, medical supplies and other donations were dropped off at St. Hyacinth in the city’s Avondale neighborhood.
Another donation drive will take place there on Sunday, Mar. 13 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Also on Wednesday, a donation drive was held at St. Julie Billiart Catholic Church in Tinley Park, where items were collected for Saints Peter and Paul Ukrainian Church in Palos Park.
The items will be shipped overseas.