People have taken to the streets around the world to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has now been ongoing for nearly three weeks. In Atlanta, some Russians are also working to show solidarity with Ukraine, participating in protests and speaking out against the war.
In late February, Julia Krotova — who said she’s a former human rights lawyer in Russia and current political asylee — helped organize a protest in Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park. She said the mostly Russian crowd waved blue and yellow flags in solidarity.
Krotova told CBS News that like many, she hopes for an “end to the war against Ukraine.”
“I feel pain. I cry a lot right now,” Krotova said. “At this moment, the people of Ukraine are defending their freedom and country, at the cost of their lives.”
Krotova said she’s also participated in a movement to gather humanitarian aid for Ukrainians. That group, “Atlanta with Ukraine,” said on its website that it has collected nearly 20 tons of essential goods like clothes and non-perishable food.
The website said trucks will now take the aid to a port in Savannah, Georgia, where it will be shipped to Klaipeda, Lithuania en route to Lviv, Ukraine. A humanitarian fund will then be responsible for distributing the aid throughout Ukraine, according to the website.
Russia’s invasion has caused more than two million Ukrainians to flee their homes — and some Russians are unaware of what is really happening due to the nation’s crackdown on reporting. Atlanta-based Marina Kremyanskaya, who migrated from Russia to America more than 30 years ago, said she believes propaganda has misled people she knows in the country.
“Every day those people receive wrong information,” Kremyanskaya told CBS News. “And it’s very hard to change their minds.”
Kremyanskaya says she is “proud” of those who have shown support for Ukrainians around the world, but is also sad for Russians who do not agree with the war.
“Putin is out of reality,” Kremyanskaya said. “And I’m really sorry for the Russian people who will experience such bad sanctions. I’m sorry for both countries.”
Tre’Vaughn Howard is a digital associate producer and writer for CBS News, focusing on international and culture stories.