“Today, We Are All Ukrainians”

For decades, the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge and Jesup Green have been the site of political rallies.

Many are controversial: Vietnam. Iraq. Black Lives Matter.

Today’s drew more than 200 people, in a united show force. Democrats, Republicans, independents; men, women, children; Americans, Ukrainians, and immigrants centuries ago and yesterday from many other lands; a US Senator, a Congressman, and their constituents.

Congressman Jim Himes and Senator Richard Blumenthal, with constituents. One had a very pointed message. (Photo/Susan Woog Wagner)

All had one message: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is abhorrent.

Holding signs supporting Ukraine, denouncing Vladimir Putin, and bearing QR codes with ways to support the invaded nation, they stood quietly but purposefully.

Listening intently at Jesup Green. (Photo)Susan Woog Wagner)

The past week has shocked the globe. In nearly every nation, people have gathered to express outrage and sorrow, and show solidarity.

Senator Richard Blumenthal met Ukrainian President Valodymyr Zelensky 6 weeks ago. “Putin has badly miscalculated this man,” Blumenthal said.

Senator Richard Blumenthal addresses the crowd. (Photo/Susan Woog Wagner)

Blumenthal added that he told Zelensky, “Your values are America’s values. And today, we are all Ukrainians.”

Congressman Jim Himes called Russia’s invasion “something we did not think we’d see in this century, or this world. This is not a distant fight. Our parents fought against communism. Our grandparents fought against fascism. It’s time now for us to do our part.”

Many came dressed in Ukrainian colors. (Photo/Susan Woog Wagner)

1st Selectwoman Jen Tooker said: “Our hearts and prayers are with the people of Ukraine as they fight for their country, their democracy and their lives. Their incredible courage and resolve, and that of President Zelensky and the Ukrainian government, has galvanized and inspired the world – and Westport.”

Other speakers included Westporter Stephan Taranko, who described the terrors his Ukrainian family felt previously at the hands of the Russian government, and Yaroslav Palylyk, president of the Westchester chapter of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America.

Some attendees noted their Ukrainian roots, or of similar heritage.

Other nations have suffered under Russian rule too. These Georgians showed solidarity on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge. (Photo/Susan Woog Wagner)

This was not a large demonstration, like Times Square or Berlin. It did not require the bravery of last weekend’s protests in the streets of Moscow.

But it was Westport’s way of showing that we do not live in a bubble. And of doing our part to let the Ukrainian people know that we are one town among many that stands with them.

Westport Police Chief Foti Koskinas and his daughters were at today’s rally, with a sunflower. It’s the national flower of Ukraine. (Photo/Susan Woog Wagner)

(Photo/Susan Woog Wagner)

Darcy Hicks (shown here with her husband Josh Koskoff) helped organize today’s rally. Darcy’s brother Tyler Hicks, a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times photographer, is chronicling the devastation.  (Photo/Susan Woog Wagner)

Miggs Burroughs — who is of Ukrainian descent — holds a sign he designed. The QR code opens a link for donations to help Ukrainian relief organizations. (Photo/Susan Woog Wagner)

(Photo/Jimmy Izzo)

The crowd on Jesup Green (Photo/Susan Woog Wagner)

(Photo/Ted Horowitz)

Saugatuck Elementary School students joined in too. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Westport artist Mark Yurkiw — whose parents fled the Ukraine in 1949 — decorated the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge with fabric. Blue and yellow are Ukraine’s national colors. (Photo/Dan Woog)

(Photo/Lynn Untermeyer Miller)

Preach! (Photo/Susan Woog Wagner)

(Photo/Susan Woog Wagner)

10 responses to ““Today, We Are All Ukrainians”

  1. Seriously Jim Himes. You didn’t see this coming. Joe Biden and his administration are weak and Putin new it. China will follow with Taiwan. Maybe Biden can stop his weekends at his Delaware home and stay at the White House and work. And Joe maybe stop buying oil from Russia. And more than 1 press conference a week would help between your naps.

    Stay safe Tyler and Lyndsey. God bless the Ukrainian people. You have a great leader.

    • It bothers me to read divisive words like Jeff’s.

    • Russell Gontar

      Since you’ve decided to use the horrors of this war as excuse to take pot shots at the current US president, I’ll just assume that you also believe that the 2020 election was stolen. ‘Nuff said.

  2. Dan why is this post allowed- no last name? I thought we had to post with our first & last name. Clearly he’s a scaredy-cat !

  3. My bet is that Westport is the only town in the whole country to have a police chief willing to publicly show his stand for what’s right…one more indication of how lucky we are to have him around.

  4. I have a Ukrainian friend of mine who’s married to a Russian and both are in close contact with their relatives. She said what cost 60 rubles a few weeks ago now cost 300. I just spoke to her 30 minutes ago.

  5. Mark Pattinson

    I’m sorry but the police chief should not be at that rally, nor endorse a controversial topic or make political statements. Start doing your job or leave your position. Disgrace

    And no. I’m not a pro-Putin apologist or Trump supporter.

    • But your’re not real smart either, Mark. If police are to be respected rather than feared, if they are to lessen the gap between the “them and us” scenario currently playing out, then they damned well ought to be able and willing to express opinions and join the community…it can’t be both ways.

    • from the picture, he wasn’t in uniform, so this is unrelated to his job. Is he not allowed to be in public in civilian attire because of his job?

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