HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Among those watching Russia’s invasion of Ukraine unfold is Alex Kuzma a member of the Ukrainian National Home which has hundreds of members in the Hartford area.
“We’re horrified by what we’ve seen,” Kuzma said.
Kuzma helped organize a rally at the state Capitol Sunday where he also displayed pictures of the first and final people killed during the last Russian invasion in 2014 when Russian President Vladimir Putin forcibly seized Crimea.
“Ultimately, it comes down to beautiful individuals like these that were willing to lay down their lives,” Kuzma said.
The Ukrainian Army was 6,000 strong then, but now has reserves of more than 600,000 troops and has received $2.7 billion in lethal military aid from the United States but it still faces a goliath.
“I know that our people are going to fight. There’s no question,” Kuzma said. “They are going to fight ferociously.”
Kuzma was on a Zoom call Thursday morning with several people who are in Ukraine right now.
“It was very distressing to see friends of mine who are very courageous and very resolute and stoic being on the verge of tears,” Kuzma said.
Congressman Joe Courtney (D) sits on the Armed Services Committee, which was getting briefings on this threat since the fall.
“It’s still sickening though to see it actually unfold,” Courtney said.
On Friday night, scholars from Ukraine who are studying at Connecticut high schools and colleges are set to meet at the Ukrainian National Home in Hartford as sort of a welcome to the community, but now that gathering may carry even more meaning.
“Vladimir Putin tries to portray himself as some kind of reasonable statesman,” Kuzma said. “This is Charles Manson with a nuclear arsenal.”
“I think the really heavy sanctions in terms of cutting off really any financial contact with banks that Russia needs to function is going to really bite hard,” Courtney said.
Kuzma believes it may only be military might, which will make a difference.
“If there’s a genocide being perpetrated against a people and millions of people’s lives are going to be threatened I think the west has to stand up to that,” Kuzma said.
Gov. Ned Lamont (D) released the following statement regarding the invasion:
“I condemn the unjustified, unprovoked Russian invasion of Ukraine. It is abhorrent. The people of Connecticut stand in solidarity with the citizens of Ukraine and pray for their safety as they endure this assault on their freedom. I commend President Biden for leading the free world in sanctioning and punishing Russia for their aggression against a sovereign, democratic, and peaceful nation.”
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, released a statement Thursday, saying in part:
“I will be working with my colleagues in Congress in a bipartisan way to provide continued assistance to Ukraine in its hour of need – as well as taking steps to reassure our vulnerable eastern flank NATO allies. Innocent civilians always pay the steepest price in war, and we must spare no expense in appropriating emergency humanitarian aid to support the Ukrainian people in the face of a potential humanitarian catastrophe. My heart is with the people of Ukraine, and I’ll make sure the United States stands by them.”
GOP gubernatorial hopeful Bob Stefanowski tweeted a statement:
“My thoughts are with the Ukrainian people suffering at the hands of Russia’s unprovoked act of war. I know there are so many Connecticut families who fear for their loved ones in harms way. We pray for their safety and for peace.”