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A sea of blue and yellow. More than a thousand Utahns rally in solidarity with Ukraine

Niki Chan Wylie
Yulia Wilcox poses for a photograph at the #StandWithUkraine Rally at the Utah State Capitol on Feb. 28, 2022.

A sea of blue and yellow — the colors of the Ukrainian flag — flooded the grounds of the Utah State Capitol Monday evening.

Around 1,500 people showed up for a rally with flags and signs in support of Ukraine during the ongoing Russian invasion.

Yulia Wilcox, 27, moved to Utah from Ukraine about five years ago. At one point during the rally, a violinist played her home country’s national anthem and she could be heard singing along.

“Who would have thought that I could hear my national hymn here in America,” Wilcox said. “I wish it would have been under different circumstances, but it felt really great to feel that support from Americans.”

State leaders, including Gov. Spencer Cox, Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson and much of the Legislature, took a moment out of the final week of the legislative session to show their support.

Cox speaks at Ukraine rally
Niki Chan Wylie
Utah Gov. Spencer Cox speaks at the #StandWithUkraine rally in front of the state capitol on Monday evening.

Cox said the way Ukrainians have responded to the conflict is inspiring, but their actions are more than “just a great underdog story.”

“I believe Ukrainians are fighting for the very things that sit at the foundation of our own country,” he said. “They're fighting for natural laws and self-evident truths and unalienable rights. They're fighting for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They're fighting for liberty and justice for all.”

Over the weekend, Cox issued an executive order removing Russian products from state liquor stores. He said the state would “not support Russian enterprises, no matter how small the exchange.”

Earlier Monday, the Legislature passed a resolution denouncing the Russian invasion, calling for a ceasefire and urging the U.S. government to take action against Russia and provide humanitarian relief for Ukraine.

As for Wilcox, she said she has family members living close to Kyiv — the capital city. She said she talks with them multiple times a day while they shelter in place.

She said she hopes people don’t forget about the conflict after the rally ends.

“I just hope that we're going to keep talking about this war and just not silence our voices,” she said.

The Utah State Capitol, governor’s mansion and other landmarks around the state will be lit up in blue and yellow Monday night in support of Ukraine, according to the rally organizer.

Emily Means is a government and politics reporter at KUER.
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