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Rally for Ukraine draws hundreds to California State Capitol

Organizers say the main goal of the rally is to stand in solidarity with Ukraine and remember the lives lost to the war.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — People from the Sacramento area and beyond gathered at the California State Capitol Friday night to show their support for Ukraine one year after the conflict with Russia first began.

Organizers say the main goal of the rally is to stand in solidarity with Ukraine and remember the lives lost to the war.

Through the rain and cold, hundreds of people stood together, shouting "Slava Ukraini," which means "glory to Ukraine."  

The rally featured speakers, including former U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker, and performances by artists, including Ukrainian singer Tina Karol.

She and her family live in Ukraine.

"This is important stage for me," said Karol. "My weapon is a voice. My weapon is music. This is how I can unite the people around our country and give them hope."

The prominent singer represented Ukraine in the Eurovision Song Contest and served as a coach on The Voice Ukraine.

Friday night, she sent a message to the world from the California State Capitol through her songs.

"Before the war it was like, 'okay, Ukraine, a country on the map,' but now you know how brave we are," said Karol.

The rally was hosted by Rancho Cordova based non-profit Ukrainian American House. The rally was also a chance to salute soldiers fighting in Ukraine and express thanks for their service. 

Ukrainian veteran Serhiy Voronia spoke at the rally. He lost his legs in an explosion during the war.

"United States is an extremely powerful ally," he said. "We need your support."

Friday marked one year since the Russia invaded the country.

"I hope the Russians are looking at this and saying, you know, 'we didn't get anything done. We've lost a lot of lives and we're not going to win this war,'" said Volker. 

He served as the U.S. Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations.

The Biden administration has sent more than $31 billion dollars in aid and weapons to Ukraine. He said U.S. aid is crucial for Ukraine.

"The U.S. fought in WWI, we fought in WWII, but we got involved because we were trying to save freedom. Well, the same thing is going to happen again with Putin's ideology of reestablishing a Russian empire," said Biden. "The brutal war crimes — that will expand if it's not stopped."

Dozens of families came out to the rally, including the Mishim family who lives in Sacramento and is originally from Moscow, Russia. They told ABC10 they wanted to show their support for Ukraine.

"We want to show to him not all Russians are bad. We want to help," said Anton Mishim. "We want to stop this madness, this war."

Ukrainian American House continues to offer refugee support and humanitarian aid as the war continues.

WATCH MORE: Ukrainian refugees in Sacramento recount first days of war | To The Point Feb. 24

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