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Minnesotans rally in support of Ukraine amid mounting threats of invasion from Russia

Saturday morning, around 100 community members voiced their support for Ukrainians living in Minnesota, as well as those with family who live abroad.

ST PAUL, Minn. — Around 100 community members gathered on the steps of the State Capitol Saturday to rally in support of Ukraine, amid mounting threats from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Among those who spoke, John Bessler, the husband of Sen. Amy Klobuchar, as well as those from the Ukrainian American Community Center.

Luda Anastazievsky, who moved from Ukraine to Minnesota three decades ago, helped organize the rally. She said family members back home are frightened.

"People are worried. People can’t live normal lives, it’s a lot of psychological pressure. It’s a lot of economical pressure," Anastazievsky said. "Children are suffering because they are living on the demarcation line. Many of them lost homes."

At the same time as the rally, more than 4,500 miles away, in Munich, U.S. Congresswoman Betty McCollum held a press conference with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to call for diplomacy.

RELATED: Ukraine's president calls on Putin to meet as tensions soar

Rep. McCollum,  a Democrat representing Minnesota's Fourth District, spent the weekend at a security conference with allies from NATO and non-NATO countries, all seeking to resolve mounting tensions from Russia.

"If Putin saw and felt any of the unity that was in the hall between NATO members, EU members, and that – there is total solidarity in putting some sanctions that are going to make the Russian economy become very fragile very quickly," McCollum said. "The Ukrainians are ready to defend their soil, and NATO’s ready to defend NATO territory should the Russians make a miscalculation and decide to go into one of the joining NATO nations."

RELATED: No, Ukraine is not a member of NATO, but the country has applied to join

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