Chicago’s Ukrainian community is very upset over the Malaysia Airlines jetliner being shot down over their native land. They took a moment to remember those innocent lives lost in the skies over Ukraine, while also making a political statement.
At 2 p.m. Saturday, about 100 people gathered near the Water Tower to say prayers for the 298 people who died on Malaysia Airlines Flight 17.
The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America led this vigil, which also condemned Russia’s government for its suspected role in helping to shoot down this commercial aircraft by missile.
Ukraine’s consul general Andriy Pravednyk was also in attendance and reserved a book for condolences. He says the book will be available to sign most of next week at Ukraine’s consulate office in Chicago.
“I fully support the view of my president that we view it not as a tragedy, not as a catastrophe; we consider it an act of terrorism,” Pravednyk said.
“It is only my sincere hope this will serve as a wake-up call to the world and to the Western powers to show some direct action against Russian aggression in the Ukraine,” Marta Bahriy, a Ukrainian who attended the vigil, said.
The condolence book will eventually be given to the consul for the Netherlands, because a majority of the lives lost on that jetliner — 192 people — were Dutch.
So far, Russian President Vladimir Putin is not taking any responsibility for this commercial plane being shot down.