NEW ORLEANS RALLIES FOR UKRAINE
New Orleans Rallies in Support of Ukraine
By Jenn Bentley
Hundreds of New Orleanians gathered in support of Ukraine at a rally on Monday. Anna Kushnir (right), seen here in traditional Ukrainian clothing sang the country’s national anthem. Photo by Jenn Bentley
Around one hundred New Orleanians showed up at a rally in support of Ukraine in spite of the cold and the threat of rain on Monday. The rally was hosted by Louisiana’s Honorary Consulate of Ukraine, Edward Hayes. Hayes says that people from all over Louisiana have been calling his office nearly constantly to find out how they can help after Russia invaded the country on Feb. 24.
“That’s one of the most amazing things about Louisiana: we have such a wonderful spirit and the support has been overwhelming,” Hayes said. “There’s obviously a lot of charities and things that I’ve been referring people to, but I think most fundamentally, just continue to talk about what’s going on, make sure that this story continues to lead because innocent people are dying unnecessarily in this unprovoked war.”
Edward T. Hayes, Honorary Consul to Ukraine speaks at a rally in support of Ukraine at Lafayette Park, New Orleans March 8, 2022. Photo by Jenn Bentley
In addition to those wanting to donate their time and money, Hayes said that there has been no shortage of people wanting to sign up to help in the fight against the Russian army as well. Ukraine began accepting American volunteers, sending out a message that any veteran or former law enforcement officers could reach out to their local Ukrainian consulate office to volunteer.
“We’re receiving at least 15 to 20 calls every day from military veterans, law enforcement personnel, who want to volunteer to go over there. Quite frankly, my receptionist is a little upset with me because of the number of calls we’ve been getting,” Hayes said. “But the overwhelming amount of support in that regard has truly been remarkable. And it’s one of the only things that’s made me feel good throughout the week.”
Shortly before the rally began, President Joe Biden announced further sanctions against Russia, including a ban against Russian energy imports. Hayes says that although he believes it was “a great step” that “needed to be done sooner rather than later,” it’s unfortunate that the move will likely have a negative impact on Louisiana’s own oil industry - which refines the majority of imported Russian crude. In addition, Hayes isn’t optimistic about the impact the energy sanctions will have.
“Unfortunately, I don't know that it’s going to have a major impact, because China’s just likely going to step in and purchase all the oil and crude and gas that’s now going to be prevented from coming here. And China has expressed its support for Russia throughout this. So I hope it has an effect, but I’m not entirely optimistic.”
Thus far, China has not condemned Putin’s attack on Ukraine, though the Chinese government did call for “restraint and respect for national sovereignty.” On Feb. 8, China and Russia announced that China would begin importing Russian wheat and barley - agricultural products that had previously been banned in China due to concerns over wheat smut fungus. It’s believed the lifting of the ban will help soften the blow of US and European sanctions banning the import of Russian agricultural products.
The Ukrainian government and Ukrainian people continue to call for President Biden to do more to help their country in the face of the Russian onslaught.
Ukrainian Anna Kushnir (right) and Lana (left) attend a rally in support of Ukraine in New Orleans. Lana withheld her last name for fear of endangering the safety of her family remaining in Ukraine. Photo by Jenn Bentley
“I want to tell the United States and everybody in the United States, please tell them to close the skies,” said Anna Kushnir. Though she has lived in the US since she was 14, Kushnir says many of her family and friends remain in Ukraine and are trying to get out of the country. “We need to close the sky, we need to shelter us from all the attacks from the skies. I know that my president has been speaking about it, and as he said, if you don’t close the sky, people are going to die more and more.”
Ukrainian President Volodomir Zelensky issued a statement on Tuesday (March 9) saying that the responsibility for Ukrainian deaths lies with Western governments who have, thus far, refused to create a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
“The blame for every death of every person in Ukraine from air strikes and in blocked cities, of course, lies with the Russian state, the Russian military, those who give and those who carry out criminal orders, who violate all the rules of warfare, who deliberately exterminate the Ukrainian people," Zelensky said. "The responsibility for this lies also with those who have not been able to make an obviously necessary decision somewhere in the West … those who have not yet secured the Ukrainian sky from Russian murderers; those who did not save our cities from air strikes. From these bombs, missiles, although they can.”
11/3/2022 07:37:02 pm
Great article on a matter that is important, globally and also locally.
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