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

The tense situation between Russia and Ukraine has members of Chicago's Ukrainian community asking for support for their homeland – not just through tough sanctions but also defense weapons, should things continue to escalate.

"Emotions are running very high," said Myron Lewyckyj, owner of Tryzub Ukrainian Kitchen on Chicago Avenue. "If things escalate, there will be millions of refugees. My friends and family in Ukraine right now are arming themselves and preparing for a fight."

He describes Vladimir Putin as "ruthless," saying he'll stop at nothing to expand his power.

"We are desperately hoping the free world isn't going to stand by and watch Putin – the murderous dictator – continue to kill innocent people in Ukraine," Lewyckyj said.


Down the block at St. Nicholas Cathedral, parishioners have been showing up for both morning and evening mass, to pray for peace. Their leader, Bishop Benedict Aleksiychuk, is urging calm and for members to have faith.

"It's so difficult for us to understand what [is happening.] It's so difficult for [our] minds to be able to understand what will happen. The most important [thing] is to not believe your mind, but believe in God," he said.

As for the Biden administration's response to Russian aggression so far, Lewyckyj said the sanctions imposed Tuesday are a good start, but that Putin only responds to force and strength.