By Cristina Mendez

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — People participated in rallies from Baltimore to Washington, DC, to show solidarity with the Ukrainian people on Sunday.

Those who participated in the rallies made several calls to action. 

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They asked for the process of allowing Ukrainian refugees to come into the United States streamlined. 

The rallies come on the heels of a request by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that people of the world stand together against Russia’s invasion of his country.

Under Putin’s direction, the Russian military has bombed an art school sheltering some 400 people in the embattled port city of Mariupol, which is one of the many atrocities Russia has committed during the invasion.

“Come from your offices, your homes, your schools and universities,” Zelensky said just a few days ago.

That’s when he made an impassioned plea for people around the globe to make themselves visible at their town squares and streets.

Eight-year-old Michaela Buck of Baltimore heeded the Ukrainian president’s call. 

Buck was one of about a dozen people at Patterson Park braving the cold weather and calling for peace in Ukraine.

“Every human has a right to be free,” Buck said. “And I feel like Russia shouldn’t be doing this to Ukraine.

Her grandfather, Eduard Loring, escorted her to the rally.

“The first thing that we are out here for is we are witnesses,” he said. “We are witnesses of what’s going on globally, we are witnesses to the horror of Putin and his henchmen.”

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About an hour away, people had gathered in Washington D.C. to spread the same message.

Ukrainian Ambassador Oksana Markarova spoke to a sea of people—many of whom were carrying the Eurasian nation’s blue and yellow flag.

“Thank you for making the entire world [the] same today in one voice: that we all are Ukrainians today,” she said.

Many of the people at the rally called for the establishment of a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

They called for all business ties with Russia to be severed too. 

Maryland officials and residents have been proactive about supporting Ukraine and cutting ties with Russia.

During the uptick of the war, the lights at Baltimore City Hall turned blue and yellow to show Baltimore’s support for Ukraine.

The lights of M&T Bank Stadium, the home of the Baltimore Ravens, and the lights of Oriole Park at Camden Yards turned blue and yellow too.

To show their support, people across the city have held donation drives and sold homemade pierogies to raise money for Ukrainians who are struggling to survive the war in their country.

At the state level, Maryland officials have been trying to put economic pressure on Moscow by severing all formal and financial ties to Russia.

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They have terminated Maryland’s sister-state relationship with the Leningrad Oblast. Now, they aim to direct the state’s $70 billion pension system to divest its rapidly declining assets in Russia.

Cristina Mendez