Ukrainians in Utah plead for action, fear Putin has larger designs
SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah — As the Russian invasion continued into Ukraine Thursday, the images and videos that emerged were even more painful to those who shared deep roots there.
“I’m angry and I’m absolutely heartbroken,” said Anya Beus, who grew up in Mariupol. “I have family all over Ukraine. I’m freaking out — big time!”
Beus, who came to the U.S. 13 years ago and to Utah four years ago, said her father still called Mariupol home.
He has been in the U.S. recently, but Beus said he may have to return to Ukraine — or what’s left of it — as soon as July if he is not allowed to stay beyond the six months permitted under current rules.
“What if in July Ukraine doesn’t exist as an independent country?” questioned Beus, who also has many more relatives and friends still in Ukraine.
Beus said the Russian attack has been purely stunning.
“How can (Putin) justify these things — it just blows my mind!” Beus exclaimed. “This is unbelievable. Things like this don’t happen in this world anymore, right? They shouldn’t!”
Beus said the argument from Russia that Russians were being persecuted in Ukraine was totally false.
“That’s nuts,” said Beus, whose mother is Russian and father is Ukrainian.
She grew up learning Russian as a primary language and said where she lived, it was Ukrainians who were ridiculed for speaking Ukrainian in public as opposed to Russian.
“Ukraine’s been in this abusive neighborly relationship for centuries,” Beus said.
Beus said that Russia has already attacked beyond eastern Ukraine in a full-scale invasion across the entire country is evidence that Putin has larger designs.
“I don’t understand how blind and deaf you need to be to understand he will not stop in Ukraine,” Beus said. “The faster European leaders, American leaders, any leaders in the world understand that the better.”
There were multiple efforts as of Thursday to build support for Ukraine in Utah.
A representative of the Utah Ukrainian Association told KSL TV a rally was planned Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. near the Utah Capitol.
Beus hoped the U.S. and European nations would do more in the days and weeks to come.
“Do I want my Ukraine saved?” Beus asked with tears in her eyes. “Yes. Do I want my Ukraine to exist as a country? Yes. Do I want more from America and European countries? Yes! Please! Do more!”
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