Metro Detroit community, photographer support Ukraine amid crisis with Russia

Ukraine On the Front Lines
Posted at 10:29 PM, Feb 11, 2022

WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — Tensions are high for people living in Ukraine and their family members in metro Detroit.

“I spoke with a couple of them today and yesterday. We are keeping in constant contact," Dr. Olena Danylyuk said.

She's a member of the Michigan Ukraine American Crisis Response Committee and sits on the Ukrainian American Civic Committee of Metropolitan Detroit.

Danylyuk says her family and friends in Ukraine are trying to stay positive as they prepare for the possibility of Russian invading their country.

“She expressed some concerns what would happen, but she mentioned that she is not believing that war will be here," Danylyuk said.

The West Bloomfield Hills resident told WXYZ they're optimistic but also preparing for the worst. She says Ukrainian leaders are currently training civilians.

“How to hide in shelters and how to protect their kids," she explained.

Washington sent out a warning Friday saying Russia could attack Ukraine with missiles and bombs at any moment.

The White House says President Joe Biden plans to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday.

“I’m hoping that Putin will take away all of his troops from our borders," Danylyuk said.

Detroit freelance photojournalist Steve Andre is on the ground in Ukraine's capital Kyiv.

For almost five years, he's been capturing different wars. He will be heading to the front lines in the coming days with his camera.

“Kind of help tell the world what is happening, what life is like in the villages and on the front lines with the military," Andre said.

At the moment, he says things are quiet but every now and then, you hear gun fire.

“Often times from the Russian side. It's trying to instigate the Ukrainian forces and returning heavily fire. So, they will fire off try to injure soldiers or kill and try to provoke the Ukrainian military to shoot back," he explained.

Biden is urging all Americans who are still in Ukraine to leave within 48 hours with fears of a potential invasion. Andre says he's staying.

He tells 7 Action News that he is going to stay to do what he can for the people of Ukraine.

“At this given time, I can take photos, I can drive an ambulance, I can help deliver aide, ammo. It's whatever people here need," he said.

As the world waits to see what happens, Ukrainians in metro Detroit are taking action and calling on allies near and far.

“Here in Michigan, organizations formed a Ukrainian crisis response committee in case that will be needed. We will be forming collection centers," Danylyuk said.

She is encouraging the community to contact their elected officials to express their opposition for what's taking place, or the White House at 202-456-1111.

The Ukrainian-American Crisis Response Committee of Michigan is organizing a #StandWithUkraine rally on Sunday, Feb. 20 at 2 p.m. at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Warren.

More information on the rally can be found online.