P rotestors in Ukraine are using a national celebration as the backdrop to voice their discontent with Russian occupation in Crimea. Sunday marks the 200th birthday of Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko and celebrations extended to a Ukrainian festival here in Central New York.
Christina Bobesky was at the celebration in Camillus at St. Luke Church. "Looking at Taras Schevchenko is like looking at one of out heroes," says Bobesky.
Shevchenko helped voice concerns of Russian oppression in Ukraine through his poetry and writings two centuries ago.
Father Borislav Kroner is the priest at St. Luke's. "Y ou see how he dealt with it you see his prophetic view of what is going on today ," says Kroner.
"M y young cousins leave school early to gather in their local maid a n. The use Ukrainian prayers, they use Taras Shevchenko's poems to keep the inspiration alive ," says Bobesky.
It's Shevchenko's message fro the 1800s that the Ukrainian community is now channeling, working to spread the message about what's happening in their country.
"M y pain, my disappointment, my horror about what they are doing to their Orthodox neighbors and Orthodox brothers , b ecause at the end of the day we are part of the same church, we are a part of the same body of Christ ," says Kroner.
Ukrainians in Central New York say Shevchenko's message is especially relevant today, as they watch the problems from afar.
Orest Hrycyk is concerned about the situation in Ukraine. " Putin is trying to re-establish the former Soviet Union., so this is just going to be an escalation of his aggression in Ukraine ," says Hrycyk.
Lunid Jemetz was born in Ukraine. "It's almost impossible, we have no words Why are the Russians invading this way and we are helpless here," says Jemetz.