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Sen. Chuck Schumer joins local Ukrainians in urging House Republicans to pass aid package

Zelenskyy says 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in war against Russia
Zelenskyy says 31,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed in war against Russia 03:14

NEW YORK -- This weekend marks two years since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.

For the first time, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy publicly acknowledged that 31,000 of his country's soldiers have been killed in that time.

CBS New York spoke with people from our area with ties to the country.

The director of a Ukrainian cultural center in New Jersey said hundreds of thousands of dollars are still being raised to send life-saving supplies to Ukraine, but she, and a refugee CBS New York spoke with, said the country needs more American support.

READ MOREUkrainian flag raised at Manhattan park to mark 2 years since Russian invasion

An ambulance donated from the Ukrainian American Cultural Center of New Jersey and medical supplies, including first aid kits and hospital beds, came from the Whippany location.

"We sent 29 shipping containers, 30 cars, six ambulances, around 50,000 tourniquets," Dr. Roksolana Leschuk said. "Each time I speak with them, I can hear by the voice how they feel. I want to be the voice for the mothers who lost their children."

"The reality is, every day my friends are dying and every day Russia killing people, but it's just not their topic number one anymore," said Ilya Popov, a refugee from Ukraine who lives in Rockaway.

Popov's mom also came to the U.S. but went back recently to sell their home, only to narrowly miss a bomb.

"The same day we show the apartment to the realtor the bomb destroy the whole ninth floor in the building," Popov said.

He's still running a medical startup with employees in Ukraine. Photos show the before and after of their work environment.

READ MOREUkraine-Russia war hits 2-year mark with Kyiv desperate for more U.S. support and fearing abandonment

Zelenskyy is appealing to the West to boost military aid. The U.S. Senate passed a national security package that includes aid to Ukraine, but the Republican-controlled House hasn't yet planned a vote.

Sen. Chuck Schumer visited Ukraine on Friday.

"President Zelenskyy told us if Ukraine gets the aid, they'll win the war against Russia. But if they don't get the aid, they will lose that war. It is that crucial, and it goes beyond Ukraine. If our allies see that the United States won't stand by its allies, they will not be allies of the United States any longer," Schumer said.

Asked Sunday at a summit whether it was time to negotiate with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Zelenskyy asked is it possible to address a deaf person? A person who's killing his opponents?

"This past weekend, I was going to a cemetery for months in Lviv. Four months ago, it was a parking lot. But they don't have enough room for the cemetery for all the people that Putin has killed, some of which are innocent civilians," Schumer said.

READ MOREU.S. issues hundreds of new Russia sanctions over Alexey Navalny's death and war in Ukraine

A recent poll shows most Ukrainians want to keep fighting until the country wins.

As for the aid package from the U.S., Schumer is asking House Speaker Mike Johnson to tour war-torn Ukraine. There was no immediate comment from Johnson, but some Republicans have threatened to oust him if he brings up that type of bill.

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