Thousands of miles away from the chaos in Ukraine, hundreds rallied in Hollywood, Florida, showing their solidarity with the people of Ukraine and demanding an end to Russian aggression.
"Ukrainian nation is very patriotic and we will never give up and let the Russian regime take over our country," rallygoer Lina Condes said.
Another attendee lamented being so far away from her family during this moment.
“The fact that we are so far away is the hardest,” attendee Diana Khruslova said, “It’s actually the worst thing because I cannot hug my grandmothers, who are 70 and 85 years old.”
Kostia Lukyniuk, a Ukrainian violinist who studied music in the U.S., auditioned for the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music on Feb. 1 and returned to Ukraine.
“If everything works out hopefully I’ll be back there in August to start my masters degree,” Lukyniuk said.
Weeks later, Russian troops invaded his country.
“Today actually for the first time, close to our house, I heard automatic rounds going off in the distance,” he said. “We saw shells, we saw block posts with Ukrainian soldiers and tanks and machinery and bazookas, and we saw some of the destroyed, completely melted down Russian tanks.”
When asked to describe the feeling of being caught in the middle of a war zone Lukyniuk showed a large shell casing.
“Just to put that feeling into one image is this,” Lukyniuk said. “This is a shell that was given to me by the Ukrainian officer that I talked to today. He said that these are the smallest rounds that they’re getting shot at with.”