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Ukrainians In Chicago Gather At Tryzub In Ukrainian Village Amid Stress, Tragedy Of War At Home

By Sabrina Franza

CHICAGO (CBS) -- In Chicago's Ukrainian Village community, Ukrainians have been gathering at a local restaurant for a bit of comfort in times of great stress and tragedy.

CBS 2's Sabrina Franza spoke with some of the people who visited Tryzub Ukrainian Kitchen, 2201 W. Chicago Ave., on Thursday night. Many of them have family in Ukraine amid the airstrikes and other attacks that have now begun.

Tryzub was meant to be a place that brought Ukraine to the United States – to share its culture and food with the people of Chicago and the Ukrainians who live here.

On the menu, you'll find chicken paprikash, beef goulash, stuffed cabbage, all kinds of pierogies, and a whole list of handcrafted infused vodkas. The prices on the menu even coincide with important dates in Ukrainian history.

To many, Tryzub is a third place – the place that's between work and home. And when home and family are in Ukraine, this is, of course, a monumentally horrific time.

"It's like a dream, and you really want to wake up, but you can't," said Tanya Pavyvh, whose family is in Ukraine.

With Ukraine 5,000 miles away, Pavyvh said, "all you can do is just sit and watch."

Pavyvh grew up in Ukraine, and her parents, her grandparents, and all her friends from high school are still there. The others at her table at Tryzub also grew up in Ukraine – which is now a war zone.

Olg Skibo's whole family is in Ukraine.

Skibo: "They're probably going to the bomb shelter, which is actually in our building – just pretty lucky, the situation."

Franza: "It's just crazy that you mention that it's lucky that they live in the same building as the bomb shelter, when in reality none, of this is lucky."

Skibo: "It was always a joke, like, are we ever going to use that bomb shelter? Even when I was a kid."

We asked the group what they want non-Ukrainians to know.

"We are not going to give up our territories. It's our homeland. If I was there, I would fight for my country, and I'm really sad I'm not able to do that right now."

"They have limited supplies," added Tryzub owner Myron Lewyckyj. "They're running out of those supplies, and they can't match the fire power of the entire Russian army unless they have help."

As to Russian President Vladimir Putin, Lewyckyj added: "He's never going to stop unless we stop him. We have to stop him now."

Tryzub opened its doors in 2014 – the last time Ukraine fought Russia for its independence. Now this time, the restaurant is a standing fixture in the community.

They prey their country can stand just as strong.

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