Ukrainian-Americans share perspective on Russia invasion

Ukrainian-Americans say they want harsher actions from the United States and NATO countries in order to prevent Russia from overtaking Ukraine.

Photo by Leonhard Lenz via Wiki Commons.

After weeks of troop build up, the Russian attack against Ukraine began early Thursday morning and the aggression has shown no sign of slowing.

Sanctions have been issued against Russia in hopes that its government will be encouraged to back down. However Russian and Belarusian forces continue to push inward towards the Ukraine’s capital city of Kyiv.

“The reason why people are staying and fighting is because the alternative is to not exist.” — Martin Howrylak, former state lawmaker and Ukrainian-American from Troy

Listen: How Ukrainian-Americans are reacting to the invasion.



Dr. Olena Danylyuk is the vice president of the Ukrainian- American Civic Committee. She grew up in Western Ukraine and now lives in southeast Michigan. Danyluk says there are not enough protections from America and Western governments to defend Ukraine from Russia’s invasion.

“I was expecting that the whole world would stand shoulder-to-shoulder and protect Ukraine,” Danylyuk says.

Martin Howrylak is a Ukrainian-American from Troy and former state lawmaker. Howrylak says Russia is doing everything to overtake the country, forcing many Ukrainians to fight or flee.

“The reason why people are staying and fighting is because the alternative is to not exist,” Howrylak says.

Aaron Retish is a history professor at Wayne State University with a specialization in Soviet and Russian history. Retish says many scholars did not believe Russia President Vladimir Putin was being serious when he threatened to invade Ukraine.

“We thought this was all kind of smoke and mirrors or a big bluff,” Retish says. “Clearly that was not the case.”

Trusted, accurate, up-to-date.

WDET strives to make our journalism accessible to everyone. As a public media institution, we maintain our journalistic integrity through independent support from readers like you. If you value WDET as your source of news, music and conversation, please make a gift today.

Donate today »


  • Sam Corey
    Sam Corey is a producer for The Metro on 101.9 WDET. In that role, he goes out in search of fun and interesting stories for radio. He enjoys salsa dancing — and actual salsa.