WATERVLIET, N.Y. -- Local Ukrainians gathered at the St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church yesterday to celebrate the 23 anniversary of Ukraine's independence.
For many, it was bittersweet, with the country still embroiled in an international conflict with Russia.
“What should have been a joyous occasion for us is now bitter sweet because of what’s going
on in Ukraine over the last 8 months,” said Andrj Baran.
For Baran, this day was hard to celebrate with political protests and turmoil taking over parts of Ukraine.
“It’s cost two thousand Ukrainian lives, ten thousand wounded, hundreds of thousands of displaced people,” Baran said.
Baran and so many others say on this anniversary, prayers from half a world away are crucial, along with assistance for the Ukrainian military.
This week reports say Russian aid convoy entered Ukraine to help, but Baran questions that effort, saying little humanitarian help was received.
“We're talking about a 300 truck convoy that went into Ukraine without the Governments permission,” said Baran
As parishioners remembered the day Ukraine gained its independence back in 1991, they were greeted by a special guest from the Ukrainian military.
Parishioners also prayed today for the nearly 300 lives lost when Malaysian flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine by Pro-Russia separatists last month.