Local officials joined the public in Armstrong for a show of solidarity with Ukraine as the Russian invasion enters its sixth week.
A Ukrainian flag-raising ceremony was held near the cenotaph at Memorial Park at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 2.
A moment of silence gave way to Ukrainian singing as the blue and yellow flag was hoisted next to the Canadian flag.
Decent turnout for a touching Ukrainian flag raising ceremony at Memorial Park in Armstrong this morning. pic.twitter.com/6md7xvvzIB
— Brendan Shykora (@brendanshykora) April 2, 2022
Spallumcheen Coun. John Bakker described the hardship he and many others have felt watching the destruction of Ukraine from afar.
“It’s emotional to me, being European,” he said. “It’s hard.”
Vernon’s Andrea Malysh, a well-known Ukrainian in the community, took the mic to spell out the mass upheaval currently taking place in Ukraine.
“Ten million people have fled their homes. Over four million women and children have been forced to leave Ukraine in the last month, 6.5 million are displaced, 80,000 have applied to come to Canada, (and) B.C. alone is expecting 16,000 temporarily displaced persons from Ukraine,” Malysh said.
Those statistics help sharpen ideas for how Canada can help Ukraine in the current moment.
“We urge the federal government to continue working to implement an orderly plan to bring them to Canada. Implement a 90-day transition period for newcomers that includes provisions for basic necessities of food, shelter and access to health care,” said Malysh.
“These people are coming with nothing, they have to get their own way here, and whatever money they have in their pocket is all they have to sustain them. That’s where they need our help.”
The City of Vernon announced at its regular council meeting Monday, March 28, that it will continue to fly the Ukrainian flag at city hall for another three weeks. The District of Coldstream has also raised the Ukrainian flag as a show of solidarity and support.
Talks to bring the fighting in Ukraine to an end resumed on Friday, but the negotiations were jeopardized when Russia accused Ukraine of launching a cross-border helicopter attack on a Russian oil depot. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said he could neither confirm or deny Ukraine’s involvement in the strikes by a pair of helicopter gunships, which caused multiple fires and injured two people.
– With files from the Associated Press