Empire strikes back – in solidarity with Ukraine

People take part in a protest after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine, in New York City
People take part in a protest after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine, in New York City, U.S., Feb. 24, 2022. 
REUTERS/Caitlin Ochs

In a show of solidarity with the Ukraine, a blue and yellow coloration lit the New York skyline throughout the weekend, two days after Russia’s militaristic invasion of the country’s sovereignty.

The glow represented the European nation’s determination to remain free and also repudiation of the Kremlin, President Vladimir Putin’s dictates as well as Gov. Kathy Hochul’s commitment to the 150.000 Ukranian immigrant population who reside here.

“New York is the proud home of the largest Ukrainian population in the United States and we condemn the unjust and unconscionable violence being perpetrated against the people of Ukraine,” Gov. Hochul said.

The top state administrator of the acclaimed Empire state added that the lights signified the state’s readiness to respond to the crisis which ignited last Thursday when Russian troops shelled armor from the air and on land.

“We stand in solidarity with those in New York who are scared for their family and loved ones, and our prayers are with the innocent victims as they fight to maintain their freedom as a sovereign people and nation.”

City and state landmarks beamed the hues from Manhattan’s Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, Grand Central Terminal to the Kosciuszko Bridge in Queens, Gov. Mario Cuomo Bridge and as far away as the capital’s Albany International Airport Gateway.

Other lit structures included the H. Carl McCall SUNY Building, State Education Building, Alfred E. Smith State Office Building, Empire State Plaza, State Fairgrounds – Main Gate and Expo Center, The “Franklin D. Roosevelt” Mid-Hudson Bridge and Fairport Lift Bridge.

In another show of solidarity here, NBC-TV’s popular “Saturday Night Live” suspended their usual caustic opening introduction opting to showcase the Ukranian Choir Dumka of New York who sang “Prayer for Ukraine.”

In front of the choir, lit candles spelled “Kyiv” the name of the capital city under siege. The ‘Live From New York’ production also amped up the messaging with displays of sunflowers, the national flower of the European nation.

Further north, Canadians joined allied forces in support of Ukraine to protest the conflict.

“Ontario joins Canada’s allies in condemning the Russian government’s act of aggression against the Ukrainian people and we strongly support the federal government’s efforts to sanction the Russian government,” Peter Bethlenfalvy, Ontario’s Finance Minister said in a statement.

“The people of Ontario will always stand against tyranny and oppression.”

More than 700 stores across the province removed Russian-imported products — which include Stoli Vodka, Russian Standard Original Vodka, Beluga Noble Russian Vodka, Karkov Vodka and Zyr Vodka. Smirnoff, although founded in Moscow, is owned and produced by U.K. company Diageo.

Elsewhere in Canada, other provinces including New Brunswick, British Columbia and Nova Scotia took a similar stance.

In Wichita, Kansas one liquor store reportedly removed more than 100 bottles of Russian vodka from its shelves and poured some of it on the ground.

“I guess this is our sanction … and this may be small, but every small thing makes a difference,” the owner said.

Social media and television stations throughout the nation provided updates on local activities.

According to FOX 12 in Portland, Oregon, the owner of Pine Tavern in Bend recorded himself emptying all of his Russian vodka.

“Russia is acting as though it’s 1939 and going into Europe with a full force that they have in the Ukraine,’ owner Bill McCormick told the station. He added that he expects to lose a few hundred dollars over his decision – but said that the protest was worth it.

Instead, the preferred alcohol served in many restaurants and bars here and in Canada branded Ukranian labels. Profits, they contend will benefit Ukranian efforts.

NY’s governor said that New York was prepared to accept refugees fleeing the country.

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