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Ukrainians and supporters gather in Moncton to remember second anniversary of war with Russia

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Around 100 Ukrainians and their supporters gathered at Moncton City Hall Saturday afternoon to mark the second anniversary of the war with Russia.

The Russian military invaded eastern Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, and since then millions of Ukrainians have fled the country, including thousands to New Brunswick.

Nataliia Haidash, the president of the Ukrainian Club of Moncton, said when Russian tanks rolled into her country it ignited the largest war in Europe since the Second World War.

“We didn’t sleep that night, overwhelmed with worry for our loved ones in Ukraine as we read news reports that seemed too terrible to be true,” Haidash said to the crowd.

Sam Sutherland left his home in the Miramichi in the spring of 2022 to serve with the Ukrainian army.

The former member of the Canadian Armed Forces praised the Ukrainians fighting for their country.

“I seen all the atrocities that were happening. I seen what was going on overseas, what Russia was doing,” said Sutherland. “I felt like I had to do something about it.”

Two people hold a sign in support of Ukraine at Moncton City Hall on Feb. 24, 2024. (CTV/Derek Haggett)Sutherland has been to Ukraine twice, the last time around six months ago.

He said the area he was in was under constant attack.

“I lost five good friends within the last month due to the artillery and suicide drones,” said Sutherland.

After he spoke to the crowd a young girl handed him a Ukrainian flag.

“It was heartwarming,” he said.

Sam Sutherland talks to a person at the rally at Moncton City Hall on Feb. 24, 2024. (CTV/Derek Haggett)Shortly after the war broke out, Don and Elsa Sage welcomed a Ukrainian woman and her daughter into their home for four months until they could get properly settled in Moncton.

It was important for the couple to attend the rally to support the Ukrainian cause.

“Everybody realizes they were invaded, plain and simple. My father fought for freedom in Europe back in his day and we have to do what we can to support them today,” said Don.

Elsa said it was important to them to try and help any family they could.

“We were lucky enough to get a mother and daughter that were so thankful that we could take them in and teach them Canadian ways and we love them. We certainly love them,” said Elsa.

Don and Elsa Sage attend the rally at Moncton City Hall on Feb. 24, 2024. (CTV/Derek Haggett)Haidash has helped organize countless rallies and fundraisers over the past two years and said it’s important because the soldiers need their support.

“No matter how much we’ve done already, it’s not enough,” said Haidash.

She said the anniversary is a day of immense grief and to remember everyone who has lost their life.

“It’s also the day which we use as an opportunity to remind everyone about the importance of helping Ukraine,” said Haidash.

According to Haidash, around 1,500 Ukrainians have come to the Greater Moncton area since the war began and close to 3,000 have come to New Brunswick.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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