‘Everybody is against it’: Ukrainians rally in uptown Charlotte to protest Russian invasion

CHARLOTTE — A group of people held a rally Thursday in uptown Charlotte to support Ukraine during the ongoing invasion that began the day before.

[Russia attacks Ukraine: Zelenskyy says he is Russia’s prime target (live updates)]

“I came to the U.S., honestly, for a better life. You can achieve more here with hard work and faith,” said Alex Luzanov, who grew up in Ukraine.

Luzanov fears for his family and worries for the future of Ukrainian heritage.

“Eventually, have Ukraine as a country disappear, remove our traditions and not speak Ukrainian and maybe in 50 years no one is going to remember about Ukraine,” he said. “And that’s what I’m afraid of.”

Luzanov took a leap of faith when he moved to the U.S. 10 years ago, leaving behind his entire family in Ukraine. “It was a difficult decision. It’s not easy to go somewhere where you don’t know anyone and hope for the best.”

Luzanov said he spoke with his family as they escaped Kyiv.

“They didn’t have a lot of time on the phone to talk to me. I can hear a sense of urgency and their voices,” he said.

The demonstrators prayed at Romare Bearden Park and then marched to the Mecklenburg Government Center calling for help from the U.S.

[Local effects: How the Russian invasion of Ukraine impacts you]

“It’s up to all of the other countries to, kind of, stop this (behavior), because everybody is against it,” said Mariana Bogun, who grew up in Russia.

Her husband, Viktor Bogun, still has family in Ukraine.

They both have the same message of unity.

“I think that most of the Russian people are against this war,” Mariana Bogun said. “The Russian people don’t want more. They want peace.”

“If nobody is going to stop Putin right now, it’s going to go farther,” Viktor Bogun said. “It’s going to get worse.”

Those in the group said it is heartbreaking to see the streets in Ukraine that were once familiar, now unrecognizable.

However, they are staying optimistic thanks to the support from fellow Ukrainian-Americans and their allies.

(Watch the video below: Russia attacks Ukraine: What you need to know)