'He is waging genocide': Ukrainian-Chicagoans march against Russian attacks

Russia unleashed its biggest and most widespread attacks on Ukraine in months. On Monday, it sent missiles into multiple cities, hitting civilian targets – killing at least 11 people and injuring dozens of others.

Russia said the strikes were retaliation for what it claimed was a Ukrainian terrorist attack on a critical bridge.

"Ukrainians woke up again with air raid sirens, screaming at the highest level," said Ihor Diaczun, president, Ukrainian Congress Committee of America. "Putin is not waging war, he is waging genocide. He must be stopped at all costs."

Now, Chicago’s Ukrainian community is responding by protesting the attacks.

Ukrainian-Americans, on Monday, met at the Historic Water Tower where they rallied in support of Ukraine before marching to Millennium Park.

"We want action, Putin cannot get away with everything he is doing. This is outrageous," said Marta Farion, vice president, Ukrainian Congress Committee of America.


In response to the attacks, the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America is calling on Ukraine’s allies to supply the country with more sophisticated air defense systems and weapons.

"This is a protest against the horrors committed by Russia, these are war crimes. Putin underestimated the Ukrainians, he thought he would take the country in three days. Here we are, almost at the end of the year, and we are fighting, and we are pushing back. The more aggressive he becomes, the more Ukrainians are going to fight," said Farion.

"I think weapons is number one. That’s the only language Putin understands," said Myroslav Sheechuk, who attended the rally for Ukraine.

Like many others, Oksana Ambroz spent her day on the phone with loved ones overseas.

"All my family is in Ukraine, my son, my nephews, their children, my mom," said Ambroz, who attended Monday’s rally. "They are in shelters. School kids actually, from school they went to subway station."

Ambroz joined at least 100 others outside of the Water Tower, carrying blue and yellow flags and umbrellas to represent their demands for help.

"We ask the American government to close the skies above Ukraine," said Diaczun.

Together, the group marched south on Michigan Avenue to Millennium Park to make their voices heard.

"We are really strong and we will win this war," said Nataliya Burak, who attended the rally.

The Russian attacks also caused major power outages across Ukraine – so severe that officials announced they will stop power exports to Europe Tuesday.