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Saskatoon shows support for Ukraine as war enters 3rd year

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Saskatoon’s Ukrainian diaspora marked the two-year anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of their homeland on Saturday.

First, dozens met at Bethlehem High School. Gathering their cars into a convoy, each flying the Ukrainian flag.

“Even what we do here in Saskatoon as a small organization — we are helping the volunteers in Ukraine to defend freedom, and I believe it’s important overall that all of us work together to defend freedom,” said Pat Tymchatyn, president of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress’ Saskatoon branch, who helped organized the day’s events.

Tymchatyn hopes to keep the spark of support for Ukraine alive.

“Everyone can help, and the more people who help, the quicker this war will be over,” he said.

Following the car rally, a service was held at the Royal Canadian Legion branch in Nutana. Two soldiers who had fought in Ukraine gave an emotional account of their experiences and their hopes for continued support.

Vlad Dudko, who was stationed in Odessa and fought on the Kherson front in southern Ukraine, described his country as the domino that could send its neighbours toppling.

"It's a false idea to think that the war could stop in Ukraine if Ukraine doesn't win, because it will spread. It will spread to Baltic countries. It will spread to Poland, Romania, and Moldova,” he said.

Dudko now lives in Saskatoon and teaches Taekwondo.

In an announcement in Kyiv on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged $2.2 billion in support to Ukraine for 2024.

“Canada has been by your side, not just because it is the right thing to do, but because your fight is our fight,” Trudeau said to an assembled crowd of soldiers.

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