A group of children waved small blue and yellow Ukrainian flags as they sang, standing before a large banner bearing the words "Halifax stands with Ukraine."
Hundreds of people came out for a fundraiser supporting Ukraine against Russian invasion at the John W. Lindsay YMCA in downtown Halifax on Saturday.
People watched traditional Ukrainian dance and music performances in the gymnasium, and browsed various booths of artwork, crafts and food throughout the building.
"Today is the feeling of a community and the feeling of gratitude … to show that Ukraine has a lot of history, has a culture that it wants to preserve," said event co-organizer Lyubov Zhyznomirska of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress in Nova Scotia.
"It brings pride in Ukrainians who are here, in Haligonians who are here."
All proceeds benefited Come Back Alive, a Ukrainian charity providing supplies and training for Ukrainian forces, as well as protective services for civilians.
Zhyznomirska said she was overwhelmed by the public turnout and participant support, as dozens of businesses and individuals were quick to donate goods for sale or silent auction.
She often feels helpless watching the news bring details of the war and devastation in Ukraine, where she has friends and family, Zhyznomirska said. There is also frustration as it feels like the existing help is "not enough."
Many attendees had no direct ties to Ukraine.
Neil Boutilier of Halifax said he wanted to come after being moved by stories of children caught in the conflict.
A three-month-old baby was among six people killed when Russia fired cruise missiles at the Black Sea port city of Odesa on Saturday, Ukrainian officials said.
"We are with them. And God knows, if I could be there, I would be there to fight back," Boutilier said.
Russian forces in Ukraine tried to storm a steel plant housing soldiers and civilians in the southern city of Mariupol on Saturday, Ukrainian officials said.
The reported assault on the eve of Orthodox Easter came after the Kremlin claimed its military had seized all of the shattered city except for the Azovstal plant.
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