SALT LAKE CITY — As Russian troops continued their invasion of Ukraine, more than 1,500 people joined Gov. Spencer Cox and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson at the Stand for Ukraine rally on the steps of the Utah State Capitol on Monday.
"You care about our brothers and sisters in Ukraine, and that’s why you’re here," Cox said.
Members of Utah's Ukrainian community and local allies gathered on the south steps of the Capitol, proudly displaying the nation’s colors as they wait for any bit of communication from loved ones overseas.
"You know what? I’m so proud to be Ukrainian, I’m so proud to be American," said Oksana Kavetska. "Here, I’m safety, I’m sleeping well. But I don’t sleep well now because my family is not safety.”
Some admit they feel a little bit helpless here in Utah some 6,000 miles away.
"We want to be heard by the world that Ukraine needs help," another attendee said.
Along with Cox and Henderson's speeches, there were prayers said and songs presented by soloists.
The rally came as war continues to rage in Ukraine after Russian forces invaded the country last week.
“What we are doing here tonight matters, because what we are doing here brings hope to those 6,000 miles away," Cox said. "They need to know that we believe in them and their righteous cause.”
The governor also took the opportunity to show support to the Russians who are not involved in the war.
“I want to say something to the 1,500 Ukrainians that live here in Utah: We love you and we are united with you. But I also want to say something to the hundreds and thousands of Russians that live here as well: We do not hold you responsible for the acts of a madman," Cox said to an eruption of applause.
Watch the full rally below:
Following the rally, the Capitol building's exterior was lit with blue and yellow lights.
This was only the second time in Utah's history that the building has been illuminated in color. The only other time was during the 2002 Winter Olympics
The lights will be turned off after Monday night, but the Ukrainian flag will fly for at least the next few days.