West Virginia hosts rally to show support for Ukraine | WCHS Network | News • Sports • Business

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Boris Chertkovsky has lived in West Virginia for 25 years, but his love for his native Ukraine has not changed. Like many Ukrainians living outside the country, he remains concerned for his family and friends living in Ukraine as Russia’s invasion of the country reaches a month-long milestone.

“We are still in shock,” he said. “We can’t sleep as usual. I sleep with my phone in my hand because we are always waiting for bad or good news. Who knows what will happen.

Chertkovsky, who now resides in Hurricane, participated in a vigil in support of Ukraine on Tuesday. About 30 people attended the event in South Charleston at the foot of Criel Mound.

The event stemmed from a meeting between Chertkovsky and Roger Samples, a Kanawha County Schools teacher. According to Samples, the two met at a charity lunch for Ukraine.

Samples also has a connection with Ukraine; a friend of his who now resides in Philadelphia was born in the Ukraine.

“When the war started a month ago, I saw him on the news and spoke to him,” Samples said. “His father joined the army. He is 71 years old. His mother won’t be moving to where they grew up because they’ve been married for 50 years, so she’s decided to stay. I asked them about his sister. She chose to join the army like her father, and she is 23 years old.

Samples said he felt he had to do something to show West Virginians support Ukraine.

“They are fighting for us too,” he said. “We fight for freedom, we fight for democracy, and they are on the front line. If we can stand here and show our solidarity by supporting this fight, then so be it. Let’s make it happen.

Chertkovsky has family members who fled Ukraine to Poland and Belgium. However, he remains convinced that his country will retain its independence.

“Thirty years of democracy and freedom, 30 years of Soviet Union rule, Ukrainians would never come back. They would rather die,” he said.

Chertkovsky noted that he continues to contact federal lawmakers in West Virginia about providing military and other support to Ukraine.

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