On Feb. 24 rocket strikes and intense gun battles erupted through the country of Ukraine caused by the invasion by the Russian Federation, triggering the largest refugee crisis since World War II began in Europe. San Francisco, which boasts a large concentration of Ukrainian residents, saw many converge at rallies across the city, including on Feb. 26 in front of the Ferry Building.
Andreii Kulian, a supporter attending the rally said, “I am here to support Ukraine in any way and I am here to support everyone I know and love who is there right now.” The true patriotism of Ukrainians and the solidarity from other ethnicities at the rally was shown with the colors of the national flag, blue and gold raised high on flag poles and draped on shoulders. Sunflowers, the national flower of Ukraine, were held and dressed in peoples’ hair among a vast amount of signs reading “STAND WITH UKRAINE!,” “Help Ukraine,” and “Stop War!” Kulian said, “I am now accustomed to a routine when I need to check-in with [friends and loved ones] just to know if they are still alive. I don’t think that’s right.”
The Biden Administration along with NATO allies have responded by implementing economic sanctions against Russia. The hope with these sanctions is to collapse the Russian economy, reduce funding for the war drastically, and seize or freeze any international assets.
Just over a week later on March 6 at the same location, another rally was held for the country of Ukraine but with a different message than before. CodePink Golden Gate Chapter held a rally to stop the war in Ukraine for fears of a prolonged conflict leading to nuclear war but to also stop the expansion of NATO. A majority of the those attendance, mainly ranging from middle age to senior citizens, voiced their concerns of having a neutral Ukraine with the United States not being involved, and to stop the expansion of NATO in Europe. Within the rally people shouted “Negotiate, don’t escalate!” and at the same time others shouted “Let Ukraine decide for themselves.”