Ukrainian woman stands to support her motherland

Published: Friday, March 14 2014 5:50 p.m. MDT

Elena Roush and Yuriy Holko participate in a peaceful demonstration to protest open military aggression on Ukraine at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Friday, March 14, 2014.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — What was supposed to be a peaceful demonstration Friday became a protest of just one Utah woman trying to show support for her fellow Ukrainians.

Elena Roush stood, holding the Ukrainian flag. Her two signs that read, "Putin keep off Ukraine" and "Ukraine independence freedom!" were resting on the steps of the Utah Capitol behind her.

Roush, who has lived in Utah for about six years, has a very Ukrainian maiden name of Zhurba. Translated, it means sorrow.

It was sorrow she felt as she stood on the Capitol steps hoping to bring awareness to the current struggle in Ukraine.

"I'm so sad. I feel so sad about this," she said. "But now I actually have hope. I have hope in my heart. I hope Ukrainian people can build a future."

The Associated Press reported that Russia, again, said Friday it reserved the right to intervene in the defense of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine. The Foreign Ministry said in a statement that authorities in Ukraine have lost control over the country and the people no longer have basic public security.

The report also states that troops believed to be under Russian command have deployed across Crimea, Ukraine's southern province. A referendum to secede and merge with Russia will take place Sunday in Crimea.

"I'm so against war, against aggression, against Russian intervention in Ukraine," Roush said.

She said she wants freedom for her people — that they deserve freedom.

"I know how life should be," she said. "People should be happy. Life is about happiness. … Everybody deserves a good life."

Now, she said, her motherland needs the support of the United States.

"I want American people to feel something," Roush said. "I just want American people to know what's going on and know that Ukrainian (people are) a peaceful people. They just want freedom."

In the final moments of Roush's solitary protest Friday, her friend Yuriy Holko joined her. They both have friends and family in Ukraine. Holko said he tries to give those family members and friends hope that America will help them.

"I hope," he said. "I hope. The world needs to help Ukraine. Ukraine needs to do (a) little bit more for its independence, but we hope the world will help us."

Email: eeagar@deseretnews.com

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