Ukraine protest
Lincoln community members gather in front of the capitol to protest the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and pray for Ukraine. "We have faith," said Oleg Stepanyuk of the House of Prayer. "And we know that the deeper the trouble, the better the celebration and the glory of God." Photo by Lauren Penington/NNS

From supply drives to peaceful protests and vigils, people across Lincoln are showing their support for those impacted by the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Unable to help in person, members of Nebraska’s Ukrainian community are doing all they can to send assistance and supplies to those who need it. The community expressed anxiety and pain at being worlds away as their friends and family are surrounded by conflict, spurring churches and individuals to take action. 

02 scaled - Life after invasion: Lincoln’s Ukrainian community sends prayers and resources to Ukraine
Solomiia Veselovska (right) marches toward the Nebraska Captiol to support Ukraine and advocate for the closure of Ukrainian air space. Veselovska, 15, was born in Ukraine and moved to the United States in 2017, leaving her grandparents, friends and cousins behind. “It hurts that I cannot be there to support them,” Veselovska said. “I cannot be by their side at a hard time to go through. Protesting is the way I show my support to them.” Photo by Lauren Penington/NNS
03 scaled - Life after invasion: Lincoln’s Ukrainian community sends prayers and resources to Ukraine
Oleg Stepanyuk speaks to the crowd in front of the capitol and leads them through prayer. Stepanyuk has family members of his own back in Ukraine that he is worried for, and continues to pray for their safety and well-being. “We want to deliver the message that freedom cannot be subdued by military weapons,” Stepanyuk said. “At the end of the day, we will prevail and celebrate, but now is the time that Ukraine needs a lot of help from international communities, from people who are not indifferent to what’s going on.” Photo by Lauren Penington/NNS
04 scaled - Life after invasion: Lincoln’s Ukrainian community sends prayers and resources to Ukraine
A Lincoln man holds a sign above the crowd asking people to pray for Ukraine. Flyers were passed out amongst the crowd to distribute to their friends and family, asking them to contribute prayers, monetary support or physical donations that will be shipped to churches in need throughout Ukraine. Photo by Lauren Penington/NNS
05 scaled - Life after invasion: Lincoln’s Ukrainian community sends prayers and resources to Ukraine
Ganna Tsygankova stands with her family, holding a sign that reads ‘Stop the war, bring peace back.’ Tsygankova immigrated to the United States 15 years ago to join her daughter, who had traveled here 10 years prior. “I have relatives, friends, neighbors there who are calling me all the time; some of them hide in basements with little children,” Tsygankova said. “I pray for the health of every person there. For their life, for their safety, for their future.” Photo by Lauren Penington/NNS
06 scaled - Life after invasion: Lincoln’s Ukrainian community sends prayers and resources to Ukraine
Halyna Syrota sings the Ukrainian national anthem as the demonstration concludes. Syrota moved here three months ago with her husband to reunite with her daughter. Her son and mother, among others, remained behind with the intention to follow later. “My family is there,” Syrota said. “We just want to pray and ask God for protection for those still there and for our country.” Photo by Lauren Penington/NNS
07 scaled - Life after invasion: Lincoln’s Ukrainian community sends prayers and resources to Ukraine
Liudnyla Symshliaiev paces in front of the capitol, preparing herself for the event. Less than a week ago, she heard a city being destroyed while on the phone with her parents back in Ukraine. “They destroyed everything,” Symshliaiev said. “What is worse, is stores are empty now. We can send money, but they cannot buy anything.” Photo by Lauren Penington/NNS
08 scaled - Life after invasion: Lincoln’s Ukrainian community sends prayers and resources to Ukraine
Liudnyla Symshliaiev sings along to a classic Ukrainian song, praying for the safety of her family. Symshliaiev moved to the United States in 2007 to rejoin her brothers but left the rest of her family behind. “I’m so proud of this country and so proud and thankful for everything it has done for my country,” Symshliaviev said. Photo by Lauren Penington/NNS
Lauren Penington is a sophomore at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln majoring in journalism and political science. In addition to writing at the Nebraska News Service, Lauren has worked as a marketing intern for Elitch Gardens Amusement and Water Park in Denver and a news intern at KLKN TV in Lincoln. She has been published in a variety of Nebraska newspapers, including: The Lincoln Journal Star, The Summerland Advocate-Messenger, The Reader, The Sidney Sun-Telegraph, The North Platte Bulletin, and more. Lauren has experience working with the majority of Adobe Suit programs. Although she has more experience with print and web journalism, she has also worked with photo and video to tell stories in unique ways.