Vermonters gather for candlelight vigil in support of Ukraine
ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. (WCAX) - People gathered in Essex Junction Monday evening for a candlelight vigil to show solidarity with Ukraine.
Russia began its invasion of Ukraine nearly three weeks ago. Since then, the UN estimates the death toll there is about 600 but has acknowledged that’s likely a major undercount. And people continue to flee the country.
People gathered at the Five Corners Monday with messages of support, candles and some even had instruments.
“It’s important to show the solidarity because we need to care for each other and show support for people suffering in other countries right now,” said Troy Austin, who organized the vigil.
Tatyana Papali, originally from Dnipro, was in attendance. She says she’s grateful for her Vermont community.
“To say I’m feeling terrible would be saying nothing,” she said. “I am heartbroken. This is a symbol. We’re lighting candles for people who died, who already lost lives and for freedom.”
Papali has been in Vermont with her children since 2006. However, friends, family and her ex-husband are still scattered throughout Ukraine and Russia. She’s doing her best to stay in touch with them.
“Some are sitting in basements with no signal,” Papali explained. “My kids who are here, their father is in Mariupol, or near Mariupol, so we lost contact with him for about a week.”
“We shouldn’t be crying about our friends and families. We shouldn’t be here instead of raising kids and doing nice stuff for each other. We shouldn’t be in that position,” Papali continued.
The group planned to keep the vigil going until about 7 p.m.
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