PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — With President Joe Biden visiting Ukraine for the first time since the Russian invasion, KDKA-TV is hearing from local Ukrainian communities about what the visit means.
The unannounced visit was welcomed news for the Ukrainian community in Pittsburgh. They said it sends a strong message to the people of Ukraine.
"To let them know that our nation is supporting them. Most of Europe is. Most of the world is," Fr. Tim Tomson of St. Mary's Ukrainian Orthodox Church in McKees Rocks said.
He said the past year has been hard on his congregation and his family. His wife still has loved ones over there.
"She worries about them and prays for them and contacts them on a weekly basis," Tomson said.
Fr. Jason Charron of the Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church in Carnegie said members of his congregation have lost loved ones to Russian missile strikes. This past year has been extremely challenging and exhausting.
"News of that, not just day after day but week after week and month after month, it takes a physical tool. To say nothing of the spiritual and psychological effects," Charron said.
According to the priest, the United States can't afford to let Ukraine fall. It must do what it can to keep freedom alive.
"We are not only risk-taking hope from a whole nation in the case of Ukraine, but we risk alienating and robbing multiple nations of hope down the road," Fr. Charron said.
This visit also gives hope to those fighting for freedom. Charron said sometimes that can be the driving force to victory.
"Sometimes gestures and hope are the only things that lend victory to a nation," Charron said.
"As long as they have the weapons, the Ukrainians can defend themselves. They're a fierce people and can defend their country," Fr. Tomson said.
Both congregations continue to pray for all of this to end, and they collect donations to help the people in Ukraine.
for more features.