NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (WTNH) — Almost exactly one year since Russian forces invaded Ukraine, Gov. Ned Lamont’s message was simple — America cannot waiver in the face of evil.

Lamont joined other state leaders Thursday at Central Connecticut State University to support families who fled from Ukraine.

Several people who were forced to leave their country spoke at the rally. Speakers emotionally recounted the lives lost and families broken since Russia’s invasion a year ago.

A mother from western Ukraine spoke with her infant daughter. Irena Kundeus said she came to America for her daughter, and hasn’t seen the rest of her family for a year. She’s grateful to be in peace with the necessities she needs, but knows each day that her family and homeland are in danger.

“Every day, fighting this feeling inside,” Kundeus said. “If it’s not my daughter, I will live in Ukraine still. I really want to go back.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) visited the war torn country last month. He said support needs to stay strong, calling Ukraine’s defense a “modern military miracle.”

“[Ukraine is] a small country defending its homeland, showing what it means to fight for independence and freedom,” he said. “I’m asking the United States of American to put its money where its mouth is in defense of freedom.”

Kundeus is staying resilient.

“We all pray for our victory, and we will all come back to our homes and celebrate this, and crying, but it will be a nice day, and I believe it will be this year,” she said.

Friday will mark one year since the invasion began. A community gathering is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the Ukrainian National Home in Hartford.