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Texans with ties to Ukraine urge Biden and allies to offer more support

Protestors at Texas Captiol protest Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. Patricia Lim/KUT
Patricia Lim
Protestors at Texas Captiol protest Russian invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. Patricia Lim/KUT

As fighting in Ukraine continues, some Texans have taken to protests and demonstrations to plead Ukraine’s allies to do more to stop Russia from seizing complete control of its neighbor.

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine intensifies, Texans with ties to the independent European country have launched demonstrations to ask the United States and its allies to do more to prevent further bloodshed.

On Thursday in San Antonio, as Russian soldiers moved closer the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, Anna Stamps joined a group at the city’s Main Plaza to call on NATO countries to do more, Texas Public Radio reported.

"I think sanctions are good, but something more strategic, military steps need to be done,” said Stamps, who’s been in the United States for 16 years. “Putin needs to get message that Ukraine is not by itself, and it cannot just be thrown to the ground whenever he feels like.”

President Joe Biden has said repeatedly that U.S. troops will not take part in the fighting in Ukraine. But instead American troops in the region, specifically Germany and Poland, are there to protect NATO countries.[RL1]

Irene Van Winkle, who was also at the San Antonio demonstration and has Ukrainian parents, said that’s not enough.

“There circling everything, all the other countries around Ukraine, but not going into the country where the fighting is actually happening,” she said.

Pro-Ukrainian Texans also gathered at the state Capitol in Austin on Thursday, some of them waving Ukrainian flags and holding signs admonishing Russian President Vladimir Putin, KUT reported.

"I'm the only one here, all of my family is at Ukraine. Some at Kiev,” Veronika Sytnykova told KUT. “I was able to get in contact with them three hours ago, but I can't get in contact with them anymore."

Meanwhile, in North Texas, Olena Prokhorenko Ogiozee said she has been in constant communication with her mom and was using messaging apps to tell her which European countries were accepting refugees from Ukraine, KERA reported.

"Right now, I think everyone is shocked, you know...literally frozen where they are. And so my mom is in the middle of the country, so she's like 'How am I going to get to the west?' because Romania and Poland is the west border,” she said.

Ogiozee said it would take hours to reach the western border by car and there's no guarantee her mom would arrive safely.

As Russian troops continue their invasion, Texas lawmakers are sounding alarm bells about Putin’s intentions beyond Ukraine. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said in a statement that though the United States did not create the crisis,we have a responsibility to support the Ukrainian people as they fight to defend their own sovereignty.”

“Putin has tried to get away with as much as he can, and it would be naïve to think that he will stop at Ukraine,” Cornyn said. “Ukraine is on the front line of a crisis, but the security of Europe is also in question.”

Cornyn followed up the statement during a stop in Houston on Friday, where he said that the United States should continue to supply Ukrainian forces with weapons so Ukrainians could defend themselves. But he also reasserted that Putin is unpredictable, which makes the situation much more dangerous.

“No one knows for sure exactly where Mr. Putin is going to stop and he’s not telling us. So, this is a threat to NATO … which was established after World War II to prevent another world war in Europe,” said Cornyn, a member of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Like Biden, Cornyn said U.S. support would not include American troops in Ukraine but instead in nearby countries that are allies of the United States.

U.S. Rep. Colin Allred, D-Dallas, told Texas Standard on Friday morning that the sanctions imposed on Russia are, so far, adequate and more significant than what’s been reported.

The U.S. Department of Treasury announced Thursday that it further targeted financial institutions in Russia that include “all of Russia’s largest financial institutions and the ability of state-owned and private entities to raise capital — and further bars Russia from the global financial system.”

“This is the most expansive sanctions package that has ever been established in a country, that we have done this in coordination [with our allies], that’s very important,” Allred said.

“The reason why it’s important … is that we’re only about 6% of Russian’s imports. We don’t have a huge economic connection with Russia so anything we do on our own is not going to be as effective as if we do it with our allies and with our Democratic partners around the world.”