Mayor Jim Ferrell speaks at the flag raising on Feb. 25. Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror

Mayor Jim Ferrell speaks at the flag raising on Feb. 25. Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror

Federal Way raises Ukrainian flag in solidarity

Community member Vitaliy Piekhotin spoke at the flag raising, attended by about 100 people on Feb. 25.

Vitaliy Piekhotin held a small tattered and torn Ukrainian flag on Friday afternoon, Feb. 25. This is how Ukraine looks now: wounded, hurt and needing repair, he said.

“We are here today in support of those people who are under attack,” said Piekhotin, a Federal Way resident, outside of Federal Way City Hall.

On Feb. 23, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared war on Ukraine. Russian military forces have invaded Ukraine and so far, 137 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed, according to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Numerous cities in Ukraine have been attacked by Russian soldiers in the two days of Russia’s invasion, which is the largest ground war in Europe since World War II, according to the Associated Press.

“Putin is a terrorist … Putin is the war criminal,” he said. “Osama bin Laden, he actually ruined and destroyed two buildings and the whole world called him a terrorist. How come until now the civilized world doesn’t call the person who’s destroying cities, the free nation of the Ukraine, free people [a terrorist]? … People keep silent and still divided.”

In his other hand, Piekhotin held an American flag.

Piekhotin said these flags represent how his heart belongs to two worlds: the world where he was born, where his lifeline began in Ukraine and the other country which gave him freedom, family and life.

“For me, sometimes, it’s painful to meet spoiled kids, being born in the free land of the United States of America who never actually experience what is communism and socialism,” he said.

On Feb. 25, the City of Federal Way raised the Ukrainian flag above City Hall in solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian-American populations locally and nationwide.

The city’s proclamation reads in part:

“Vladimir Putin and Russia launched an unprovoked, unlawful, and brutal invasion of Ukraine, shattering decades-long peace in Europe … We recognize Russia’s unlawful war on the Ukrainian people is creating severe human tragedy on the European continent, felt here locally by our beloved Ukrainian-American neighbors, who we must stand with.”

Prior to the Friday afternoon flag raising, Piekhotin was sitting in his car, talking with his friend in Kyiv.

“He said, ‘this might be out last conversation,’” Piekhotin told the crowd of over 100 people. Dozens of crowd members wore Ukrainian flags over their shoulders, or waved small flags in their hands.

The City of Federal Way is encouraging residents to donate to the Red Cross and World Vision to support “the tragic refugee situation developing due to the unprovoked and unlawful” attack.


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Igor Soloydenko, who said he identifies as Russian, holds a sign urging “Peace for Ukraine.” Soloydenko said “… there’s just so much shame. I feel helpless in the way I cannot change anything in my home country. It was unimaginable that Russia would do such a thing.” Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror

Igor Soloydenko, who said he identifies as Russian, holds a sign urging “Peace for Ukraine.” Soloydenko said “… there’s just so much shame. I feel helpless in the way I cannot change anything in my home country. It was unimaginable that Russia would do such a thing.” Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror

Elected officals help raise the Ukrainian flag on Friday, Feb. 25. Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror

Elected officals help raise the Ukrainian flag on Friday, Feb. 25. Olivia Sullivan/the Mirror

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