NEW YORK - Wednesday is both Ukrainian Independence Day and the six-month anniversary since the start of Russia's invasion in February. In solidarity with the occasion, the corner of Brighton Beach Avenue and Coney Island Avenue has been co-named "Ukrainian Way."
Leaders and activists gathered at the busy intersection to mark the ceremony, as Ukrainians overseas celebrate the anniversary of the issue of their Declaration of Independence in 1991.
Consul General of Ukraine in New York, Oleksii Holubov, says the nation marks the 31st anniversary, "fighting for independence."
The co-naming was proposed by Councilwoman Inna Vernikov, who was born in Ukraine and represents the 48th District in Brooklyn, which includes that corner.
"I'm incredibly proud that Ukraine has received unanimous bipartisan support, because this is not a Republican or Democrat issue, this is an issue of human decency," she told CBS2's Hannah Kliger.
According to the 2000 census, the New York metropolitan area has the largest population of Ukrainians in the country with around 160,000 people. Most of them are concentrated in Little Ukraine in the East Village and Brighton Beach in Brooklyn.
"If you walk Brighton, you see Ukrainian flags on Pakistani businesses, on Tajik businesses, on Georgian businesses," explained Yelena Makhnin, Executive Director of the Brighton Beach Business Improvement District. "This is Brighton, we are a small United Nations."
Children from Ukrainian New Wave School performed national songsm wearing yellow and blue.
"Most of our kids in our summer program, they came from Ukraine, they escaped from Ukraine from the war, and we are saying, 'You came here in New York and look what you're doing, you're opening Ukrainian Way right here,'" said Larysa Zanyk, the school's Vice President.
There were also activists like Samuel Bykov, a Holocaust survivor and chairman of the Holocaust Remembrance Association, who uses his organization to help.
"During this period, through our office came 1,000 refugees," Bykov said.
Six months into the war, these New Yorkers are supporting Ukraine not just in their hearts, but also in their streets.
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