By Suzanne Potter
This story was originally published by Public News Service.
As the Russian army marches toward the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, Ukrainian Americans say they’re terrified a bloody conflict could claim thousands of civilian lives.
Lubow Jowa, president of the Ukrainian Heritage Club who lives in Reno, said the American public needs to pay attention to the attack on Ukraine, which has been an independent, democratic state for more than 30 years.
“We still have relatives over there, we have friends over there,” Jowa explained. “We wonder if they’ll survive. And I just wish more Americans would know more about the intentions of Putin.”
On Wednesday Jowa traveled to a rally in Sacramento, home to a significant Ukrainian American population. Protesters called on President Joe Biden to impose additional sanctions on Russia, hoping economic pain will convince Russian President Vladimir Putin to withdraw.
Jowa stressed she believes Putin is trying to retake parts of the former Soviet empire, and warned if he is allowed to annex Ukraine, he may be emboldened to attack other nearby countries.
“And he is not going to stop with Ukraine,” Jowa asserted. “Ukraine is just a steppingstone. He is looking at Poland, and Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, all these former subjugated nations that the Soviet Union had at the Russian Empire.”
Calls are increasing for neighboring European countries to absorb the flow of civilians fleeing the war. Thursday, an American pro-immigration group called the TPS Alliance called on the Biden Administration to give Ukrainian refugees temporary protected status and allow them to resettle in the U.S.