The people of Ukraine stand strong in the face of the “unjust, unprovoked, criminal” actions launched by Russia, Ukrainian Ambassador to the U.S. Oksana Markarova told the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) Tuesday. Markarova addressed the CUNA GAC live via Zoom.
Anatoli Murha, senior vice president with Ukrainian Selfreliance Credit Union in Feasterville Trevose, Pa., introduced Markarova from the main stage, saying, “there is no stronger advocate for Ukraine in the United States right now.”
Russian attacks started Feb. 24 and continue, Markarova said, noting that on Tuesday morning two Russian rockets hit the city center of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, bringing devastation not seen since World War II.
This war threatens anyone who “loves freedom, believes in freedom, and is willing to fight for freedom,” she said.
“Right now we don’t have any other choice but to defend out home. We don’t have another," Markarova continued. "Everyone in Ukraine, our president—who made the extraordinary decision to stay in Kyiv—our government, our armed forces, national guard, police, ordinary people, including women and girls. All of us are fighting these days for our home. We will not rest. We will not get tired, and we will not stop until we bring peace to our country.”
Markarova, former minister of finance for Ukraine, said credit unions have long played a part in the country’s history.
“The 12 wonderful Ukrainian credit unions here in America helped the Ukrainian cause even before we gained our independence 30 years ago,” she said. “The Ukrainian credit unions were essential in supporting our fight for freedom.”
Ukrainian American credit unions have already raised and sent more than $700,000 to support those on the front lines through the Ukrainian American Credit Union Association.
“All the credit unions in the United States are much closer to citizens than any other institution. By your very design, you represent people, you help people, you work with people,” she said.
She urged credit unions looking for ways to help to contact the Ukrainian American Credit Union Association.
“Ukraine will fight. Ukraine will defend its home. And we need people who are willing stand with us, not with their words, but with their actions,” she said. “This will hopefully end with the democratic world coming out stronger.”
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