WASHINGTON — Simply above the Reflecting Pool, on the steps resulting in the Lincoln Memorial, a whole lot of individuals gathered on Sunday to recollect the roughly 14,000 Ukrainian lives misplaced since 2014 within the preventing with Russian-backed separatists within the nation’s east.
Amongst these in attendance was Oksana Markarova, Ukraine’s ambassador to the US, and two former American diplomats — Marie Yovanovitch, the American ambassador who was recalled from Kyiv and fired by then-President Donald J. Trump in 2019, and William B. Taylor Jr., who served as performing ambassador to Ukraine after Ms. Yovanovitch’s departure till January 2020.
An extended string of audio system addressed the group on the “Stand With Ukraine” rally on a cold afternoon, together with a gaggle of clergymen from Ukrainian Catholic, Ukrainian Greek Catholic and Ukrainian Orthodox church buildings who sang Panychida — a memorial prayer for individuals who have died within the battle.
“A whole lot of us felt like we would have liked to do extra and present Ukraine and present the world that individuals of the US assist Ukraine,” stated Maryna Baydyuk, president of United Assist Ukraine, one of many teams that organized the rally.
Ms. Baydyuk, an assistant analysis professor of biology at Georgetown College who was born in Kyiv and got here to the US in 1997, stated her group has been sending medical provides to Ukraine for troopers in addition to for territorial protection models being fashioned from the civilian inhabitants and army veterans.
“We nonetheless hope that diplomacy will prevail and we are able to avert huge bloodshed in Ukraine. To be trustworthy, at this level, most of us are fairly scared that the invasion will occur,” stated Ms. Baydyuk, noting that her dad and mom and sister in Kyiv have recognized a bomb shelter that they will go to and have made plans to evacuate if essential.
Ms. Markarova, Ukraine’s ambassador, famous that the US has elevated its help to her nation and stated she hopes a diplomatic answer may be discovered to revive Ukrainian territorial integrity.
“If you’re speaking a few nation getting ready to being attacked, after all we want extra,” Ms. Markarova stated in an interview. “However we’re very grateful for the assist we’re getting now.”
“We are actually asking the U.S. and all of our companions for no matter defensive tools and weapons they will present us with,” Ms. Markarova stated. “We pray that we’ll by no means use it, however all of that can strengthen our offensive and defensive capabilities and also will deter Russia by basically exhibiting the price of invasion shall be too excessive for them.”
Ms. Markarova stated that Russia’s territorial goals would threaten Poland and the Baltic States as nicely.
“It’s a risk to anybody who has chosen to be democratic and free,” she stated of Russia. “In order that’s why it’s so necessary for all of the free world to face along with us. As a result of it won’t finish with us, in the event that they assault us.”
Ms. Yovanovitch, the previous U.S. ambassador, echoed these considerations that the disaster posed a broader risk to European safety.
“I feel it’s actually necessary that the free world stands with Ukraine as a result of this Russian aggression towards Ukraine, the massing of troops and tanks at unprecedented ranges, will not be solely violating Ukraine’s safety, it’s a risk to European safety and it’s a risk to the worldwide world order,” Ms. Yavonovitch stated in an interview.
Mr. Taylor, who served as performing ambassador following Ms. Yavonovitch’s dismissal, stated he was happy that the Biden administration and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine have stayed united.
“I need to see them proceed to face robust,” Mr. Taylor stated of the American and Ukrainian governments. “Proceed to ship weapons, enhance the move of weapons and the sophistication of weapons to make Ukraine militarily stronger after which to persuade President Putin to not invade and to go to the negotiating desk.”