The Ukrainian national anthem sounded out over Kamloops' Riverside Park Sunday afternoon as more than 100 people gathered with flags in hand.
Sunday’s event was just one of several rallies that have been held in Kamloops over the past few weeks to show support for Ukraine and to call for an end to the war.
Andrii Lobanov, rally organizer, addressed the gathered group, saying since the war started, his daily routine consists of checking in on relatives to make sure they are safe.
"It is making sure that the city that I was raised in, that was born in, a city where I went to school and a city with my friends, where I first fell in love, where I drove my first car — does this city still exist,” Lobanov said.
He said while his city is still far enough away from Russian bombs and rockets, many of his friends aren't so lucky.
“Their cities are being shelled and destroyed daily as we speak. As we gather, as we go for coffee, as we go to school, as we go to [the] bar, which is still a normal thing to do. But during the same time the city is being destroyed.”
The rally began at 3 p.m. at the rotary bandshell. Several people gave speeches, including some Thompson Rivers University faculty and current or former students.
Anastasia Muzyka, a TRU volleyball player, said she has caught herself feeling guilty she isn’t there in Ukraine, fighting with her people and for her country.
“What I can do is to spread the word. Bring attention to the people, talk more about Ukraine and try and do something. Please, please listen. And I'm asking you to keep your attention on Ukraine,” she said.
“I beg all of you to keep Ukraine in mind. Ukrainian kids don't deserve to be born in bomb shelters, Ukrainian elders don't deserve to see war again. Ukrainians don't deserve this. Nobody deserve this.”
Speakers encouraged attendees to contact government representatives and keep pushing for more sanctions against Russia and aid for Ukraine.
Yulia Voloshenko, a former TRU business student, said Ukrainians will fight “for every brick, for every piece of land, for every life lost.”
“Together, we can bring the victory even faster, even quicker. So please, please act. Please call your MPs. Please sign the petitions,” Voloshenko said.
“Please use all your social media platforms to spread the word to the world because they do deserve to know. They deserve to know that we will stand until we succeed.”
Donations of tactical supplies — such as binoculars, flashlights and tactical radios — and first aid items were being collected by rally organizers to send to the Ukrainian army.
Lobanov encouraged those who are able to donate to organizations helping Ukrainians to do so, but if a donation isn’t possible, to spread the word.
“If you can spread the word, put some pressure on the politicians so they can do their job even better,” Lobanov said.
“If you think supporting Ukraine is right, they will be continuing to do that.”