Ukrainian flag raised in Fresno as elected leaders denounce Russian invasion
As Ukraine’s flag was raised at Eaton Plaza in downtown Fresno, several members of the Ukrainian community sang the country’s national anthem. Many were holding flags, signs and were dressed in the bright yellow and blue colors of the country.
They were there with Fresno city and county leaders who denounced the Russian invasion. Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig said it was important for city leaders to take a stance.
“We cannot stay silent about this issue. We need to be involved not only as a community, but as a nation and do everything that we can to stand with our NATO partners and also to stand with Ukraine,” he said.
Fresno City Council President Nelson Esparza said the ceremony was more than a symbolic gesture.
“This flag raising is not just a symbol of hope for Ukraine, but rather a crystal clear message that we the city of Fresno stand for democracy at large,” he said.
Mayor Jerry Dyer called Putin an “evil man” who must be stopped. He praised what he called the bravery and resiliency of the Ukrainian people and welcomed any of the country’s refugees to Fresno.
“Not only do we stand with you in solidarity, our doors will be open to you in the city of Fresno and Fresno County,” he said.
Svetlana Lysenko was born in Ukraine, but immigrated to the United States in 1993. She and her husband have lived in Fresno for nearly 30 years. She attended today’s ceremony holding a sign that said, ‘No war in Ukraine.’
“Like everybody here, you know, my heart is broken,” she said.
Lysenko has relatives who live near Kyiv, but has since lost contact with them due to internet outages in the region. She’s been able to reach one cousin via text message who says the situation has grown, “very hard.”
“It's very, very painful to understand, you know, that your loved ones, your country goes through this stuff,” she said. She called today’s ceremony touching.
The flag will fly for seven days.