Ukrainian Community in Baltimore Worried for Loved Ones, Future Uncertain After Russian Invasion – CBS Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Baltimore’s tight-knit Ukrainian community stands by and worries about the safety of loved ones affected by the Russian invasion.

John Wojtowycz told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren: “It is hard to witness such a compromised country. His parents came here from Ukraine decades ago, and he holds back tears as he talks about how Ukrainians are now fighting for their country’s future. “It’s the spirit that won’t be broken,” he said.

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Wojtowycz is a member of the Church of St. Michael Ukraine in East Baltimore, where prayer services were held.

His friend Steve Humeniuk read to Hellgren some of the texts he had received from relatives since the invasion began, discussing nearby bombings.

“I felt helpless. I felt it was a horrible situation,” said Humeniuk. “It was painful.”

Baltimore has been a sister city of Odesa, Ukraine since the 1970s. Karina Mandell heads that partnership.

She recently visited Ukraine and met the mayor of Odesa.

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She also visited her own relatives. Now, she worries about what will happen to them and about an impending humanitarian crisis. “They were stuck in cross-chairs,” she said. “Innocent victims are caught in the middle with no regard for their lives.”

Mandell shared an image of a statue that Ukraine plans to give to Baltimore to place along the water at Fells Point. She said plans are being made for Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott to have a call with the mayor of Odesa on Friday. The mayor’s office confirmed to WJZ that they are working to make that a reality.

Through it all, the Ukrainian community in Baltimore vowed to support their brothers and sisters under attack.

“I just felt like I was holding my breath,” Mandell said.

She also talked about the uncertain future to her friends and family. “They’re just trying to live every hour, day by day and whatever is happening.”

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The Baltimore-affiliated Jewish Federation has opened a Ukraine Emergency Fund to provide assistance to Odesa and communities in Ukraine affected by the conflict. Contributions to the Ukraine Emergency Fund can be made at Ukrainian Community in Baltimore Worried for Loved Ones, Future Uncertain After Russian Invasion – CBS Baltimore

Jake Nichol

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