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Peace vigil in Sammamish gathers to help Ukrainians in Washington community

A Ukrainian immigrant who recently moved to Washington said any support provided, will help.

SAMMAMISH, Wash. — From Seattle Center to the east side, communities across Western Washington held events Saturday to continue showing support for the Ukrainian community.

The Great Wheel on the waterfront, the Space Needle, Lumen Field and the Pacific Science Center were lit in blue and yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag, to show support.

In Sammamish, the nonprofit organization, Plateaupians for Peace, hosted a peace vigil to let the Ukrainian, Polish and Russian communities know they are not alone.

"We really want to make sure that the community has a way to show that they care, a way that they can support other people," Plateaupians for Peace board president Hayley Gudgin said.

Dozens of people attended the vigil at Sammamish City Hall, where people had an opportunity to react to the events unfolding in Ukraine.

Among those who spoke was Oleksandr Shyronosov, who immigrated with his family from Ukraine to Canada in 2019. Their parents and relatives are still in northeast Ukraine.

"Our parents, our relatives, friends, are all there with this impossible, terrible situation," said Shyronosov, who added that his sister and her family managed to leave Kyiv where there has been intense fighting.

He has been in contact with his family in Ukraine by phone until they have to go to a shelter for cover.

"Just imagine, just for a second like how it is, to be in a bomb shelter," Shyronosov said.

Shyronosov's wife said they are very concerned with what will unfold in the coming days and weeks.

"You want to be together with them and help as much as you can," Iryna Shyronosov said.

Shyronosov said any donations to support the Ukrainian military, even small ones, would help. 

"Everyone in the world right now, should care about that and should act. We should act. Otherwise, we are really worried that Putin may not stop," he said.

Shyronosov pointed out a link where he knows donations could be made. 

The link is also on a list of places where people can donate, compiled by the independent Ukrainian newspaper, The Kyiv Independent.

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