As the war in Ukraine intensifies, people in Connecticut are donating to help send medical supplies to Ukraine. A fundraiser in New Britain highlighted the desperation, but also the hope Ukrainians feel as people from all over show up to support them.
Just as Poland is helping Ukrainians, in New Britain's Little Poland, people wanted to show their support as well. So after speaking with businesses in the area, the Polonia Business Association announced that Little Poland would be known as Little Ukraine for the month of March.
"Welcome to Little Ukraine!" said Polonia Business Association President Adrian Baron.
We are all Ukrainians: that's the message from people who came out to the fundraiser at Belvedere in New Britain Friday night. And what's raised there, Maidan United said, will bring supplies to those who need it in Ukraine.
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"Our main mission is to do humanitarian aid. We are focusing on medical supplies, anything that is to do with the need that's there right now," said Ostap Dumansky, Maidan United treasurer.
The nonprofit said it's flying medical supplies like first aid kits and tourniquets to Poland that then get transported to Ukraine.
For those who feel helpless watching the invasion, they said it's a way to make a difference and help Ukrainians fight for freedom.
"We are in the United States, maybe like soldiers, because we are bringing to them what they need," said Belvedere owner Ela Konferowicz.
Senator Richard Blumenthal attended the fundraiser and told the crowd that the U.S. stands in solidarity with Ukraine. He said stronger sanctions, delivering more arms and going after Putin's personal assets can make a difference. He said what happens in Ukraine can have deep consequences.
"The aggression that Putin has shown, if he's not stopped, he will keep going. And our own freedom will be in peril," said Blumenthal.
Yulia Karpyuk and her daughter left Ukraine with nothing, arriving in Connecticut Thursday. Through a translator, she recalled the chaos, the desperation and the devastation.
"Her friend lost her father. Her father, he was in one of the villages that the army was taking over. He put a grenade on himself and threw himself under a tank," said Karpyuk.
Karpyuk's husband is still in Ukraine, and many others who attended Friday night’s fundraiser still have loved ones there, too.
The invasion of Ukraine is uniting people to stand with the country, and those affected by the violence hope that support continues.
"Don't leave us alone. We're in deep trouble. We really need help, and we're desperate. And we really need your help. Stand with us to the end, please," said Karpyuk.
If you were unable to attend, but would still like to donate, you can do so here.