Hundreds of Houstonians 'Stand With Ukraine' as Russia invades Ukraine

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Texas Gov. Greg Abbott requests Texans to "Stand With Ukraine" and ask businesses to pull all Russian products from store shelves.

On Saturday evening, hundreds of people protested Vladimir Putin's attack on Ukraine outside of the Russian Consulate on West Loop South and Post Oak.

Houston native Nestor Dub said his sister lives in Ukraine. Dub hopes his neighbors in Houston will get involved by showing support for Ukraine, staying educated on what is happening, and asking U.S. lawmakers to take swift action.

"One thing to know is Ukraine did nothing to deserve this," Dub said. "They have democratically elected leaders. They're a democracy. They just wanted to have freedom, and they wanted to succeed as a country. If anybody out there, if they can do anything, it's that they can call their elected officials, senators, congressperson and they can ask them to help Ukraine."

Dariya Dashutina has family in the Ukraine. She said Ukrainian families, including children, are running out of food, water, fuel, and other necessities. "Millions are heading to nearby countries like Poland and Romania to seek refuge," Dashutina said. Unfortunately, her family members and close friend are closer to Russia's border and are stuck in their crumbling city with nowhere to turn.

"The last time I heard from them was about 7 hours ago," Dashutina said, "because, during the nights, it's the most difficult time. There's no connection with them, during the night at least. Whenever I call, I keep hearing the bombs. We keep hearing the lights going out and sirens everywhere. It's pretty difficult."

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, along with advocates from France, Poland, The American Jewish Committee, FIEL Houston, and the Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston, met in Downtown Houston to discuss the potential next steps that need to be taken to help stop this war.

"My fear is Ukraine falls, the region falls," Jackson Lee said. "I think that it is very important to have these very fine supporters know to let the Ukrainian community in Texas, in Houston, to know that we are praying for them. Let the people in Ukraine know that we are praying for them, but we also want to act on their behalf."

Jackson Lee said she would be pushing several efforts, including adding more sanctions, calling for a cease-fire, providing Ukraine with more weapons for defense, and finding protected air space. Jackson Lee also said she urges the Red Cross to find a way to independently and accurately report the number of Russian soldiers that have died in this war.

"I think the funds that are in our possession, owned by Russia, should be held," Jackson Lee said. "I'm only seeking peace. We need a cease-fire."

Jackson Lee said people here in Houston can help by spreading the word on social media that they stand with Ukraine. Local organizations such as FIEL Houston and the Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston said if this war rages on, they are prepared to help and take in any Ukrainian refugees.

"Really, this situation sets a very dangerous precedent for the rest of the world," Dub said, "If Putin can get away with this, then a lot of other big countries can get away with something like this."

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