Chicago's Ukrainian community reacts to Russia-Ukraine rising tensions

The president of Ukraine gave an alarming warning Monday saying the Russians would attack come Wednesday. He has since walked back that prediction, blaming it on media reports.

In Chicago, there is certainly a lot of concern in Ukrainian Village, especially from folks who have a lot of family and friends in Ukraine.

An estimated 200,000 people of Ukrainian decent reside in Chicago, with thousands living in Ukrainian Village — attending church and frequenting various businesses in the area.


Currently, 130,000 Russian troops have surrounded Ukraine’s borders. Reports indicate an invasion could occur as early as mid-week.

In phone calls on Sunday, President Joe Biden and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky continue to strive for deterrence and diplomacy.

Ukrainians in Chicago say they’re praying for a positive outcome.

"I think this is a lot of bluster on the part of Russia to try to get concessions from the west. And certainly this is a play for the west to give in to him. Ukraine is just the pawn in this argument, unfortunately," a Chicago-Ukrainian said. "But unfortunately, being a pawn, we're the ones who are going to suffer the most – our population – if there is indeed a war."

Russia has repeatedly denied plans to invade Ukraine.