A Ukrainian song of unity, sung by community members.

“This is a very desperate situation. Russia is such a crazy big thing that they’re very afraid of being just decimated,” Maria Meyer said.

They gathered Sunday at Little Odessa in downtown Bismarck, before parading around the city with Ukrainian flags showing their support.

Owner Mirbla Punga said the goal for opening an Eastern European store was to bring a piece of her home to North Dakota.

“We don’t want our kids to forget the place they come from. We want to tell them they have a country they can always go and hug their grandparents,” said Punga.

13-year-old Maria Meyer said her mother’s family is in Ukraine. They’ve been in contact with relatives and friends.

Since Russia has invaded Ukraine, she said airports and bridges are being blown up to prevent citizens from leaving.

“This past Wednesday, there were reports of a lot of planes flying around and a missile or two but Thursday it just went and they advanced very quickly,” Meyer said.

Some others attending the rally said their families in Ukraine need help and conditions are intense.
Many families there don’t have food, water, or a way out and are afraid of what Russia’s president may do next.

“People just think, let’s just give him Ukraine and he will stop there. He will not, he’s ready to use nuclear force, people need to wake up,” one supporter said.

Although citizens in Ukraine stand strong, they acknowledge there’s only so much they can do, but the support from North Dakota, is strong.

“We cant do much because it’s across the ocean but one thing we can do for them is give them the positive support that they all need there,” Punga said.

Meyer said people in Ukraine are patriotic and remain hopeful.