State Sen. Jesse Kiehl, D-Juneau, speaks during a protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine in Marine Park on Feb. 26, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

State Sen. Jesse Kiehl, D-Juneau, speaks during a protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine in Marine Park on Feb. 26, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Juneau rallies for Ukraine

Opponents of the Russian invasion of Ukraine gathered Saturday

“Put the seeds in your pocket so at least sunflowers will grow where you lay,” read a sign in the crowd of the more than 50 protesters gathered at Marine Park in Juneau on Saturday afternoon to speak out against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The sign echoes the reported words of an elderly woman in Ukraine who tried to give sunflower seeds, the national flower of the country, to Russian soldiers, so that their corpses would nourish the growing plants when they were killed.

“We’re deeply moved by the conflict breaking out. We don’t want to see innocents suffering,” said Lisa Puananimohala’ikalani Denny, one of the organizers. “The people of Ukraine are in peril.”

[Alaska elected officials react to Russian invasion of Ukraine]

The organizers of the rally said they were moved after seeing a social media post of a woman in Ukraine begging viewers to get out and protest the war on Thursday evening, organizer Nick Moe said. Protesters wore the yellow and blue of the Ukrainian flag as others carried signs or sunflowers.

“I’m just afraid. I’m scared for people there and doing what I can do to support them,” said Viktor Tkachenko, who moved to Juneau from Ukraine to stay with family a year ago. “It’s what we can do, go out in the streets and show your support.”

Early Thursday morning in Ukraine, Russian forces invaded the country from three sides after amassing an estimated 150,000 troops nearby, the Associated Press reported.

Videos of air and artillery attacks, including videos of rockets striking residential buildings and aircraft being downed, have spread rapidly across social media.

“My home city was attacked seven times by bombs,” Tkachenko said. “It’s so scary. My friends are sending messages

every hour.”

Draped in the Ukrainian flag, Tkachenko was holding a sign that read “NATO, shelter our sky — we’ll do the rest,” as

he advocated for help securing Ukrainian airspace.

“We just heard the Alaska Airlines jet go by and we didn’t flinch,” said Sen. Jesse Kiehl, D-Juneau, as he spoke out passionately against the war. “Too many people have had to hide in fear from the sound of aircraft for the last three days.”

Kiehl railed against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s methods as he spoke against the war.

“We as Alaskans and Americans have to stand up,” Kiehl said to the crowd. “No country should change its borders by lies and tanks and bombs and force.”

Other state legislators, including Senate Minority Leader Tom Begich, D-Anchorage, attended the rally.

“The fact that you’re here on such short notice shows that you care about the lives of people who are pawns in the game of oligarchs who want to hold on to their wealth and power,” Begich said.

While he was concerned for them, Tkachenko said, he knows that the people of Ukraine would not go quietly.

“They are so angry,” Tkachenko said.

Viktor Tkachenko, who moved to Alaska from Ukraine last year, holds a sign asking NATO for assistance defeating Russian airpower at a protest against the war in Marine Park on Feb. 26, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Viktor Tkachenko, who moved to Alaska from Ukraine last year, holds a sign asking NATO for assistance defeating Russian airpower at a protest against the war in Marine Park on Feb. 26, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Viktor Tkachenko, who moved to Alaska from Ukraine last year, speaks during a protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine in Marine Park on Feb. 26, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

Viktor Tkachenko, who moved to Alaska from Ukraine last year, speaks during a protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine in Marine Park on Feb. 26, 2022. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

More in News

Jack Penning, managing partner at Volaire Aviation, speaks to the Kenai City Council in Kenai, Alaska, on Wednesday, June 19, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai Airport can support expansion, study says

New services could include a direct line to Seattle

Alaska State Troopers logo.
Soldotna man dead after Nikiski collision

The Kenai Spur Highway was closed for around four hours.

Copies of the Peninsula Clarion are photographed on Friday, June 21, 2024. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Announcing a new Peninsula Clarion print schedule

Our last Wednesday edition will be delivered June 26.

A bucket of recently caught sockeye salmon rests on the sand while anglers seek to fill it further at the mouth of the Kasilof River on Monday, June 26, 2023, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Dipnetting in Kasilof opens Tuesday

Dipnetting will be allowed at all times until Aug. 7

The Kasilof River is seen from the Kasilof River Recreation Area, July 30, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
Fish and Game restricts bait on Kasilof, Ninilchik Rivers

The use of bait on the rivers will begin Friday and extend to July 15 in Ninilchik, July 31 in Kasilof

A man fishes in the Kenai River on July 16, 2018, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Peninsula Clarion/file)
Slow sockeye fishing on Kenai, Russian Rivers

Northern Kenai Fishing Report for June 20

Alaska Department of Fish and Game logo. (Graphic by Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Bag limits doubled for sockeye salmon in Resurrection Bay

The increase is effective from June 21 to July 31

Most Read