LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — As the third night of fighting continued in Eastern Europe, people around the world voiced their support for Ukraine, as it was invaded at the hands of Russian military troops directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
With the battle making its way into the capitol city of Kyiv, millions of people worldwide have watched in anticipation, with world leaders working to stop Russia before things get out of hand.
For the second day in a row, rallies were held throughout the Southland, with one notable demonstration on the Santa Monica Pier Friday afternoon. Thursday saw rallies in front of The Federal Building on Wilshire Boulevard and Studio City, as well as a prayer service held at the oldest Russian Orthodox church in Southern California.
Amidst the thousands of attendees at all of these events, are many Los Angeles County residents with roots in both Ukraine and Russia. CBS reporters spoke with several Ukrainian citizens now living in Los Angeles on Thursday, who shared jarring images of bombs and shells littering the streets of Ukraine, as well as heartbreaking stories of families leaving behind older family members and pets.
Anastasia Shostak was born in Russia, and though she now calls Los Angeles her home, she still has many loved ones still living in both countries involved in the ongoing conflict.
Though she feels incapable of offering any assistance to her family, she has found one thing that she can do in to make a difference — talking about it — in hopes that people will understand what the true costs are of the Russian invasion into Ukraine.
“It’s harder just being so far away from there and not being able to do much,” she said.
Shostak is the Program Coordinator for the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, and just recently became a U.S. Citizen on Friday.
With no time to celebrate, she began looking into getting visas for her family members still in Eastern Europe, especially after their attempt to escape through Poland was stopped short.
“By the time they got all the family together and were ready to go, the roads were blocked,” Shostak continued. “My greatest concern is that there’s going to be another attack of The Iron Curtain, where I wouldn’t be able to get in touch with my family.”
Her worries haven’t stopped her from setting plans in motion through her workplace. “We’ve launched a campaign to support Ukrainian Jews, through our partners on the ground,” she said.
Shostak also wanted to make it very clear that many Russians do not support the war.
“In fact, in my circles — among my friends and family — I don’t know a single person who would support this decision,” she continued. “Everybody is against this war.”
Another rally is planned for Saturday outside of Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office in San Francisco, where protestors will demand financial, military and humanitarian aid for the country of Ukraine.