Chicagoans gather in Millennium Park in support of Ukraine

Outraged by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, hundreds of people turned out for a massive rally in Chicago’s Millennium Park on Friday night.

Standing together in a sea of blue and yellow to represent their home country’s flag, Ukrainian Americans asked for support.

"We cannot fight this monster by ourselves," said Oksana Smith Kovalyuk.

They decried Russian President Vladamir Putin’s brutal military actions against civilians in Ukraine.  

"We need to stop him, show him the strength and the unity of the people around the world," said Andriy Herha, who attended Friday’s rally. "It’s just… it’s a nightmare, we never thought this outcome would actually happen."

Many of the people who gathered for the event have parents, grandparents and siblings in Ukraine – and expressed fear, sadness and desperation.

"It’s hurt us so much because our family is inside," said Oksana Mazurak, whose parents and siblings are currently in Ukraine.

MORE: Video shows explosions in Ukraine as Russia invades

Some are unable to reach their relatives by phone and are unsure where they might be.

"They are fleeing the country because there is no place for them to stay, it’s really sad. Please help Ukraine," said Smith Kovalyuk

While some are fleeing, Jerry Korolchuk said his family is hunkering down in their homes in Lviv, Ukraine.

"Yesterday my cousin’s wife, her daughter went to the store and bought some food for the next couple weeks. Who knows how long it will be," said Korolchuk.

Like so many others, Korolchuk is pleading for peace and an end to Russia’s invasion of his birth country.

"All we know is we need to pray for Ukraine," said Korolchuk.

MORE: Chicago's Ukrainian community prays for peace as Russia-Ukraine tensions escalate

Verizon, on Friday, announced it will waive charges for its customers for wireless and landline calls to and from Ukraine through Thursday, Mar. 10. The company is also waiving voice and text roaming charges for customers in Ukraine.


AT&T is offering its customers unlimited long distance calling from the U.S. to Ukraine starting Saturday, Feb. 26 through Monday, Mar. 7.

Another rally in support of Ukraine is planned for Sunday, Feb. 27 at 1 p.m. outside of Saints Volodymyr and Olha Ukrainian Catholic Church in Ukrainian Village.