Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine speaks at a special meeting in the East Village regarding the Ukrainian Crisis.
Photo by Dean Moses
Local elected officials committed to stand beside Ukrainian New Yorkers during an East Village conference Friday.
Anxious locals looked on with solemn concern as Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine, and Councilwoman Carlina Rivera spoke to their constituents on the second floor of the Ukrainian East Village Restaurant located on 140 Second Ave. The setting was less like that of a conference and more akin to a war room meeting thanks to a map of the embattled country projected behind the politicians.
“I am horrified by the images that we just saw and that we see in our homes on television,” Congresswoman Maloney began. “I, like all of you, prayed and hoped for diplomacy. I prayed for peace, but Putin disregarded every attempt to avoid conflict. Often through the bloodiest, most destructive course of action now, or in Europe, by air, land and sea endangering the lives of innocent civilians, disregarding international law and creating a humanitarian crisis in Europe. He bears full responsibility for the bloody consequences we are witnessing. He fired the first shot. I wish I could provide words of comfort but there is no comfort in war.”
Maloney acknowledged that the coming days and weeks will be difficult to bear, but also promised that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions will be met with the most severe sanctions in history as the conflict progresses.
Standing between the American and Ukrainian flags, the electeds also touched upon the ripple effects this calamity has on New Yorkers, especially those residing within the East Village’s Little Ukraine.
“This is a crisis for New York City. We understand that every single member of this community has family and friends and Ukraine that you are experiencing sleepless nights, sick with worry. Worried about the status of your loved ones. We’re feeling your pain as well. And we are here to support you at this moment. We are here to demand that the humanitarian resources that you are gathering can make safe passage to the country,” Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine said.
Levine also declared that he urges New York City and the rest of the country to welcome asylum seekers from Ukraine. As the conflict continues to grow more dire and elected officials decry the actions of the Russian military, the rest of the city can do little more than look on and hope for a peaceful outcome.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.