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Gov. DeWine joins Deputy U.S. Secretary of State in Parma, pledging continued Ukraine support

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Posted at 6:01 PM, Jan 24, 2023

PARMA, Ohio — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman met Tuesday with leaders of Greater Cleveland's Ukrainian community in Parma as the war in Ukraine marks the start of its 11th month; both pledging their continued support of Ukraine and its people.

"Ohio's a very welcoming state, a state that has been built on immigrants," DeWine said reciting a theme from inauguration last week when he spoke of Ukraine. "We will continue to welcome people from Ukraine here... we will continue to do what we can, and frankly look for ways that we can be supportive."

He spoke of using the bully pulpit of his office to speak up "and we make it very, very clear that we support the United States' actions in helping Ukraine," DeWine said.

Secretary Sherman said the U.S. support for Ukraine and its people is the right thing for the country to do but its also in our long range interests. "It sends a clear message that attempts by any country to dictate another's borders or policies will be met with strength, unity and action across our country and across the globe."

Among those on hand for the roundtable discussion was Andy Fedynsky, director of the Ukrainian Museum-Archives in Tremont. Fedynsky told News 5 he's optimistic the impact that support has had.

"It's gratifying, not only to see how Ukraine itself is defending it's independence and freedom but how the people have risen, how people in America, the bi-partisan support we're getting from the House and Senate and of course with the administration," he said.

Greater Cleveland has welcomed more than 3,000 Ukrainians since the start of the war. Fedynsky just this week welcoming two of them, students from Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv. One, Halshka Shklabiuk, marking her 21st birthday Tuesday. Needless to say, her 20th year was an up and down one.

"Now I don't have so much stress as I had at the beginning of the war but I'm also stressful when, for example, we have sirens when my family live without electricity," she said.

She arrived from Lviv three days ago with fellow student Sofia Turko, who said her excitement about being in the U.S. is tempered by the concern for family in Ukraine.

"It's so complicated because we understand that we're in different positions like they are in dangerous but we are in safe position and it's so, like, ugh," Turko said.

Turko and Shklabiuk will eventually return to Ukraine after their studies, but they know already by what they've seen and felt so far, they'll take a part of Northeast Ohio with them.

"I feel that it is, it is my country," Halshka said. "I don't know why but certainly Ukraine is, always will be my home, homeland, but I like America."