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Purdue students show support for Ukraine

Purdue student Tanya Masnyk speaking at the march on Wednesday (WBAA News/Ben Thorp)
Purdue student Sasha Marcone speaking at the march on Wednesday (WBAA News/Ben Thorp)

Several hundred people gathered on the campus of Purdue University Wednesday to show support for Ukraine following Russia's invasion of the country.

The event was put on by the school’s Ukrainian Student Association and came after President Joe Biden, during his State of the Union address Tuesday night, began by underlining his solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

“Yes, we, the United States of America, stand with the Ukrainian people,” Biden said.

Romen Zharovsky is a Purdue freshman who attended the march. He said he’s a first-generation Ukrainian.

“I’m very disappointed with what’s happened and it’s a very sad reality,” he said.

Mattei Jacks is the treasurer of the Ukrainian Student Association.

“I’d like some protection for Ukraine’s skies,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing I’d wish. For NATO to get involved.”

Purdue sophomore and association president Ksenia Lewyckyj said she has friends and extended family members in the country and wanted to find ways to show support as a student.

“It’s heartbreaking, but I think it’s important to keep in mind that this is not new for us – there’s been a conflict in Ukraine for the past eight years,” she said. “Russia’s kind of always been trying to subjugate Ukraine and take it over so I’m used to seeing this happen, and it’s really frustrating I guess that the international community has let it get this far.”

President of Purdue’s Ukrainian Student Association Ksenia Lewyckyj
President of Purdue’s Ukrainian Student Association Ksenia Lewyckyj

Lewyckyj said she doesn't want U.S. troops sent to Ukraine, but does want to see aid in the form of weapons and sanctions against Russia.

“I’m not suggesting we send in the troops, because I think that could end in disaster,” she said. “But they definitely need weapons, they need aid, they need support, and we need to condemn Putin any way that we can and make it hurt for him, what he’s doing.”

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has condemned the invasion of Ukraine, and announced that the state will “review” state contracts with Russia-owned and affiliated businesses.

Holcomb also said that the state will ask universities to report any Russian funding.

Purdue President Mitch Daniels visited students before the march began, to thank them for coming out to show their support. He said the university has not found any funding connection with Russia.

“We checked immediately. We have no research arrangements or funding arrangements,” he said. “We’ll continue to watch, but to my knowledge we have no ties and we’d sever them if we did.”

Correction: The student in the header picture was originally identified as Tanya Masnyk - her name is actually Sasha Marcone.