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Local churches stand in solidarity with Ukrainian people as Russia begins invasion

The invasion began Thursday with a series of missile attacks, many on key government and military instillations.

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesotans, including many with ties to Ukraine, are speaking out and raising their concerns as they watch things unfold overseas. 

Dozens of them gathered for a rally at the St. Constantine Ukrainian Catholic Church in northeast Minneapolis Thursday evening.

Kramarczuk Sausage Company is also in the same area. It's a staple that has served eastern European food for decades.  

Its Ukrainian founders escaped to the United States at the end of World War II as part of a Catholic refugee program.

Their grandson is now in charge of the deli.

"They did live through some pretty brutal war," said Nick Kramarczuk. "That's why it's so shocking to see it now and the same thing is happening there again."

Kramarczuk knows the importance of supporting fellow Ukrainians during such a dark hour — his newest employee's entire family lives there.

"He's only been here six or eight months and doesn't speak a lot of English and I think this is almost like an alternate reality for him," said Kramarczuk.

Another symbol of solidarity was seen Thursday at a nearby church, St. Maron's, that serves people from mainly from the Middle East.

"As I watching the TV today, I literally felt the pain they are going through," said the pastor Chorbishop Sharbel Maroun.

He walked across the street and gifted St. Constantine's priest with what's called an icon - a mosaic they believe is a window into heaven.

"War is the ugliest thing that a person can experience and a country can be destroyed and will take years and years for them to come back to life," said Pastor Maroun. 

There are some 17,000 Ukrainians living in Minnesota. The first ones arrived in the state in the late 1800s.

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