Ukrainian-Americans with ties to New Orleans urge continued support

Published: Apr. 8, 2022 at 5:02 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Reaction is swift and angry from people of Ukrainian dissent with ties to New Orleans. As they push for continued military aid for the Ukrainian resistance, New Orleanians continue to show support.

At an uptown store, the Ukrainian flag out front signifies new inventory being placed on shelves as soon as it comes in.

“The phone hasn’t stopped ringing, people are desperate to get them,” said Charles Wendell, owner of Brad and Dellwen’s Flags.

The show of support is appreciated, as Ukrainian-Americans recoil from the latest attack on a train station in Kramatorsk which killed scores of Ukrainians including children who were preparing to escape.

“It’s incredibly heartbreaking that they feel the need to hurt civilians and children,” said Tulane medical student Alex Orak, who now worries about loved ones in harm’s way.

Meantime, Tulane law grad Ivan Bonderchuk has now moved back to Kyiv where things are quieting down, but still dicey.

“We had some noisy shells from air defense systems one day. I got up at 1:30 in the morning, it sounded like a rocket hit our neighborhood,” said Bonderchuk.

After 44 days under Russian attack, both men are proud of the Ukrainian resistance so far.

“Very proud, two months ago even the biggest optimist in Ukraine would not believe that Ukraine can sustain for almost two months against such a big army,” said Bonderchuk.

The future remains uncertain.

“It is unlikely that this could be continued for an extended period of time, the resources will run out,” said Orak.

As many Americans show their solidarity with the Ukrainian people, this Magazine Street flag store has a hard time keeping up.

“I panicked when I called to re-order the second time because nobody had any size or quality and I didn’t know how I was going to get them,” said Wendell.

Now Brad and Dellwen’s flag shop has hundreds of Ukrainian flags in all sizes.

“I do believe America has done a lot but there’s always more to do,” said Orak.

Ukrainian-Americans say more support will be necessary for a military that so far appears to be holding its own.

“Our resistance is growing. The fact that Russia retreated from Kyiv is the first sign of Ukraine winning this war,” said Bondarchuk.

But after what happened in Kramatorsk, it’s clear the war is far from over.

Now Orak is setting up a nonprofit to support refugees who he says are trickling into the New Orleans area. He also hopes Americans can continue to send money to support agencies like Meest and Nova Poshta.

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