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Fort Worth pro-Ukrainian rally hopes to draw Biden’s attention

Fort Worth pro-Ukrainian rally hopes to draw Biden’s attention

Fort Worth pro-Ukrainian rally hopes to draw Biden’s attention
March 10
13:15 2022

Residents from the North Texas area rallied in support of Ukraine on Tuesday in an attempt to grab President Biden’s attention as he gave a speech at the Fort Worth VA Clinic.

The event saw over a dozen people gathered near Interstate 20, near Loop 820. The rally was composed of people mostly from the North Texas area, with Ukrainian and American citizens alike coming out in solidarity for their loved ones back in Ukraine.

“I’m just out here trying to let Biden know that the people of DFW care about Ukraine and that we’re not just going to pretend it’s not happening,” said Gwyneth Kemp, a U.S.-born Fort Worth resident. Kemp said she attended the event in support of one of her best friends, who is currently trapped in a Ukrainian city surrounded by the Russian military.

Some Ukrainian nationals who are currently unable to return home were present at the event. Olena Kuvychka, who was visiting friends in the U.S., was supposed to fly back to Ukraine on Monday. After Kuvychka learned her flight was canceled, she decided to take up a sign and join the rally. She was previously displaced in 2014 after Russia invaded Crimea and had to relocate to Kyiv.

“We have a very close Ukrainian community everywhere, especially in Texas,” Kuvychka said. “I believe that everyone understands that these are just political games.”

The rally at the Veterans Affairs hospital was one of multiple that have been hosted by Fort Worth locals in the past few weeks, gathering the support of both Ukrainian immigrants and U.S.-born citizens.

“We’ve been to a few similar events in Fort Worth, at the courthouse [and] Sundance Square,” Ukrainian immigrant Lyudmila Kuchurivski said. She has been in the United States for 23 years and came out to the rally with a sign that read “Peace in Ukraine, Peace in the World!”

The group hoped that this particular gathering would attract more attention than before. People made signs and banners calling for Biden to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine and brought a petition for passersby to sign.

“We decided to be here because we knew that [President Biden] is going to be in this area,” Kuvychka said. “We want to show him that we will stand here any time, all day, and we insist on closing the sky of Ukraine.”

Many of the supporters cited the 1994 Budapest Memorandum for their support of further U.S. involvement in the conflict. The memorandum was an effort by the U.S., Britain and Russia to denuclearize Ukraine after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in exchange for security assurances, as Ukraine had the third-largest nuclear stockpile at the time, according to Brookings. The document committed “to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine” and “to refrain from the threat or use of force” against the country.

Russia has broken virtually all the commitments it made in the memorandum. It has used military force to seize and then illegally annex Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in early 2014. Russian and allied proxy forces have waged war for more than five years in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas, claiming more than 13,000 lives and driving around two million people from their homes, according to Brookings.

“It’s not a local problem,” Kuvychka said. “Today it is Ukraine that is being attacked, but tomorrow it could be the world.”

Despite the rally’s confidence in its support, some in the group are unsure as to what the future holds for Ukraine and what the next best course of action is on a global scale.

“I’m really not sure how much more [Biden] can do,” Kemp said. “I’m just not pleased with the state of things.”

Featured Image: Attendees of the Pro-Ukrainian rally in Fort Worth holds signs on March 8, 2022. Photo by Ayden Runnels

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Ayden Runnels

Ayden Runnels

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