SALT LAKE CITY — Roughly 2,000 people gathered at the Utah State Capitol on Monday evening to rally for Ukraine as their battle against Russian forces continues.
The Capitol Building was lit blue and yellow at night to represent the Ukrainian flag. It was the first the building had been lit up since the 2002 Winter Olympics. State universities and private businesses across the state also showed their support by projecting the flag’s colors, which represent fields of wheat and blue skies.
Several political leaders spoke at the gathering, including Gov. Spencer Cox, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall, Senate President Stuart Adams, and House Speaker Brad Wilson.
“Our Ukrainian friends are reminding us what it means to be American,” Gov. Cox said, highlighting the 1,500 Ukrainians living in the state.
Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson quoted Sen. Mitt Romney when she spoke, calling Russian President Vladimir Putin a “small, evil, feral-eyed man.” She said he “deserves every bit of scorn and condemnation for his evil actions.”
“Our democracy is only as stable as our commitment to it,” Mayor Mendenhall said at the event. She discussed how her family fled Russian-occupied Lithuania in World War II, never to return again.
On Monday, the Utah Legislature unanimously passed a bill denouncing Russia and calling for the federal government to “restore peace in Europe.”
A Russian military strike hit Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, on Tuesday. “You cannot watch this without crying,” one witness told the AP.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenkskyy reported dozens of casualties, calling it “frank, undisguised terror. Nobody will forgive. Nobody will forget. This attack on Kharkiv is a war crime.”