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Metro Atlanta Ukrainian Community Responds To Russian Invasion Of Their Homeland

ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) -- The local Ukrainian community is on edge as Russia invades their native country. The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America's Georgia Branch is raising awareness of the crisis and calling on the U.S. and its allies to take swift action.

UCCA Georgia Branch Vice President Yuriy Babak moved from Ukraine to the U.S. in 2007 for more opportunities.

"People are not happy with what's happening in Ukraine. We want to raise awareness. We want to make sure people understand what's going on," he said.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine is raising alarm here in the U.S. for those with ties to the country. "My family, specifically, is there, and right now, they're sitting in their basement, because there was an attack scheduled for 6 p.m. local time," Babak said late Thursday morning. "They're trying to stay calm as much as they can when they know there's active war action going on and rockets fly literally over their heads," he added.

The UCCA Georgia Branch is providing Ukrainians with financial and other support. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says officials are handing out weapons there and calling on everyone to fight for their country. President Joe Biden says the U.S. and its allies have imposed tough sanctions against Russia.

"They need to do everything possible. We understand that direct confrontation between the U.S. and Russia can cause major issues," Babak said, also referencing the Budapest Memorandum that the U.S., Russia, and United Kingdom signed in 1994, which guaranteed security for Ukraine and other countries for giving up their nuclear weapons. "If all the parties involved were following the agreement, nothing would have been happening. Mr. Putin is trying to resurrect the dead body of the Soviet Union, and he needs Ukraine. For him, it's like a pearl on his crown," said Babak.

He said it's not just an attack on Ukraine. "It's about to be a global conflict, and Putin doesn't hesitate to threaten everybody with a nuclear weapon," said Babak.

The committee held a protest two weeks ago, before the invasion, and they're planning a second protest this weekend.

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