TOPEKA, (KSNT)— Kansas lawmakers, community members and Ukrainian students rallied at the statehouse on Thursday in support of Ukraine.

Ukrainian students from the University of Kansas spoke at the event, sharing emotional and personal testimonies of Russia’s invasion.

“They want to wake up from this nightmare but this is their reality,” Mykola Hordiichuk, a finance major at the university, said. “Most Ukrainian cities have been actively bombed. Not only military objects, but apartment buildings and central squares.”

Ukrainian students from the University of Kansas spoke at a rally in support of Ukraine at the Kansas Statehouse Thursday, March 3, 2022. Mykola Hordiichuck, (left) and Elina Shutova (center), shared emotional testimony of the Russian invasion’s impact on their home country. They were joined by fellow student Andrew Brytsko (right). (KSNT/ Rebekah Chung)

Elina Shutova, a student also majoring in finance along with business analytics, was brought to tears recounting the hundreds of lives lost since the beginning of the invasion, as Ukrainians fight for their freedom.

“We lost hundreds of civilians and Ukrainian soldiers…is this the price we should all pay for wanting to be independent and develop our beautiful country?” Shutova said. “Some Ukrainian women will never see their sons, husbands and fathers. Is it the price we should all pay for wanting peace and a bright future for our motherland?”

Representative Chuck Schmidt, a democrat from Wichita, emceed the rally. Both Democrats and Republicans participated in the gathering, showing their support for the people of Ukraine. A resolution introduced in the House reaffirmed their plans to stand in solidarity with the country and to condemn the Russian invasion.

“There are three things that democrats and republicans believe concerning Ukraine…number one, what Vladimir Putin has done is evil…number two, the courage and the resolve shown by the people of Ukraine is amazing and they do need to be supported….and number three, Putin needs to get out of Ukraine now!” Representative Clarke Sanders, a Republican from Salina, said.

Representative Clarke Sanders, R-Salina, condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in passionate speech during a rally at the Kansas Statehouse March 3, 2022. (KSNT/ Rebekah Chung)

This comes as another major city comes under siege overnight, and at least one million refugees flee the country. In her speech, Shutova said the country’s independence and rights are being violated, as Russia “convicts crimes against humanity.”

“We will never forget and never forgive,” Shutova said. “We will fight until the end, and we will win because we’re Ukrainians.”