Cyclists from Ukraine are travelling 10,000 kilometres through the U.S. and Canada in an effort to raise awareness and funds for those affected by the war in Ukraine including orphans and families who have lost loved ones because of the war.
The eight cyclists on the tour — some of whom are veterans of the war — stopped in Vernon recently.
“They are going around Canada and the U.S. to thank the governments for their support with their army from initiatives to training their personnel over there,” said Andrea Malysh, Program Manager for the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund. “They are raising money for the veterans, for the orphans and widows. We have over a million and a half displaced people so that’s their purpose in raising the money.”
The war in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region is in it’s the fifth year of unrest. In an April article, the Washington Post deemed the Donbas war is considered one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world. More than 10,000 people have reportedly been killed because of the conflict; 2,800 were civilians.
Malysh said they chose to meet at the mural because of its symbolism and the Ukrainian history it represents.
The group is cycling the Chumak Way — a 10,000 km tour from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic. It started in Los Angeles, goes through more than 400 towns and cities and ends in Washington D.C. The trip takes about 100 days.
The group of cyclists includes volunteers and veterans. They said they are biking for peace.
“Some of us were at the front line to defend our country [Ukraine] from aggressors,” the cyclists wrote in a press release Wednesday. “We know it is possible to end war wherever it takes place in the world. We must look for solutions. That is why we bike for peace.”
This project is a partnership for the success of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (provincials councils and branches,) Ukraine Embassy and Consulates in Canada, UNF, USCAK Canada Federation Inc., CYM, PLAST, among others.
The local branch of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress will be hosting the cyclists on Monday, June 18 at 6:30 p.m. at the St. Mary Ukrainian Orthodox Church Hall, 4105 41st Avenue. Everyone is welcome to meet the team. Donations will be accepted.
To see the full cross Canada journey visit: http://proidysvit.org