"A hideous attack": Supporters of Ukraine rally at Texas Capitol to demand action

Austin, Texas - Supporters of Ukraine gathered in front of the Texas Capitol on Thursday to protest Russia's invasion of Ukraine and demand action from world leaders.

Protestors gathered at the Texas Capitol on Thursday to stand in solidarity with Ukraine after Russia invaded the country.
Protestors gathered at the Texas Capitol on Thursday to stand in solidarity with Ukraine after Russia invaded the country.  © Taylor Kamnetz

Protestors rallied at the Texas Capitol in Austin on Thursday to show support for and stand united with Ukraine following Russia's invasion by land, air, and sea.

Ukrainian transplants and locals organized the event to protest Russia's military aggression, misinformation tactics, and to ask world leaders to step in and help protect the country against Putin's aggression.

Despite the chilly weather and mild sleet, the event had quite the turnout, with hundreds of all ages gathering in front of the state Capitol on Congress Avenue.

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Cars honked as they passed by to show their support from the warmth of their vehicles, with some waving flags out of their car windows.

As the crowd at the Texas Capitol grew, protestors held up Ukrainian flags and homemade signs while chanting in unison, "NATO, help Ukraine", "Russian propaganda kills", "Putin is the new Hitler", and "Sanctions on Russia."

Protestors spoke about their anger, frustration, and fear for loved ones still in Ukraine, noting they weren't all that surprised with Russia's decision to invade.

"We are calling on the world leaders to help Ukraine"

Supporters of all ages came out to the rally in Austin, Texas, holding up signs of support.
Supporters of all ages came out to the rally in Austin, Texas, holding up signs of support.  © Taylor Kamnetz

Ukraine declared itself an independent country free of Russia's control in 1991 following the fall of the Soviet Union.

After months of asking for help amid growing turmoil with Russia, Ukraine found itself getting invaded at the reins of Russian president Vladimir Putin.

On February 3, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that such an invasion wouldn't simply lead to a war between the two countries, but rather a "large-scale war in Europe."

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One of the organizers of Thursday's rally, Polina Shabarova, who moved to Austin from Ukraine in 2017, spoke to TAG24 about her initial thoughts of the invasion, and her hopes for the days ahead.

"Such a hideous attack covered by all the lies of Russian propaganda is a crime against humanity and democracy. So heartbreaking to see that it's happening in the 21st century," Shabarova said.

While she noted that Ukraine is "heroically fighting for its freedom," Shabarova doubled down on the need for help from world leaders.

"We do count on international support – from [the] US to Europe and Asia. Russia has many neighbors and any can be next," she said, adding, "We are calling on the world leaders to help Ukraine with protective weapons, economic and political support, as well as to impose the most severe sanctions on Russia and ban its regime from the civilized world."

US imposes "significant" sanctions on Russia

Despite the feelings of frustration and outrage, there was an overwhelming sense of hope at the rally in Austin, Texas on Thursday.
Despite the feelings of frustration and outrage, there was an overwhelming sense of hope at the rally in Austin, Texas on Thursday.  © Taylor Kamnetz

Despite the rightful feelings of anger and frustration towards Putin and Russia's recent invasion, those rallying at the Texas Capitol offered up optimism and hope that was palpable to all in attendance.

Amid the protest, US President Joe Biden announced the country would be placing "strong, profound, and significant sanctions" on Russia.

The aim is to hurt Russia financially in hopes of reducing its ability to stay afloat and thrive as a country on all fronts, adding that Russia's invasion was never about security.

"It was always about naked aggression, about Putin's desire for empire by any means necessary," Biden said.

Though Biden reiterated he doesn't intend on deploying US troops to Ukraine, he does plan on sending additional troops to the NATO countries boarding Ukraine should Russia expand its invasion further West.

As for Putin himself, Shabarova said he "has to be held responsible for his crimes and trialed by Hague Tribunal," which is the international criminal court for crimes against humanity and genocide.

Cover photo: Taylor Kamnetz

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