The Town of Comox raised the Ukrainian flag Monday afternoon in solidarity with its citizens under siege from Russia.
Comox mayor Russ Arnott raised the flag after a short speech about what Ukrainian citizens mean for him. The flag is now raised beside the Canadian and British Columbian flags near the Comox Marina.
For Ukrainians Slav and Olena Pylypchuk, who live in the Comox Valley, the moment brought hope to them as they continue to watch and talk with family about what is happening in their home country.
“It feels very empowering and motivating people in Ukraine will see that and for sure will appreciate every bit of attention and help,” said Slav. “I’ve spoken to my family and friends over there and always they say ‘we see, we feel and we appreciate the whole world standing with us together.”
Arnott said they stand with the people of Ukraine as they are taking the brunt of a leader’s drive for power.
“What is happening in Ukraine is a terrible thing to experience for any people in any country. The good people of Ukraine and Russia are the ones taking the toll of a dictator’s brutal drive for power,” said Arnott. “The Town, Staff, Council and I stand in solidarity to the Ukrainian people and denounce any form of war.”
A rally organized by Pylypchuk and Stefan Szkwarek will be held at the Comox Marina Saturday to show support for the country and its citizens.
Both Slav and Olena say understanding is very important as the conflict will affect non-Ukrainians as well.
“I think awareness is the most thing because the truth will eventually overcome evil, and I have faith in that,” said Olena. “I just want to say, every year we put on poppies and we say lest we forget and I want that to be more than just a tradition. I want that to be meaningful.”
“Spread the word I want to see the community strong and united and be there for each other, not only for us,” said Slav. “The whole thing is going to affect random Canadians. Even the grocery prices might lift up.”
“We want to be there for you guys too. We want to share that part of our common history and be there with each other.”