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Prayer vigil held amongst Connecticut Ukrainian community

People of all ages came together at the Ukrainian National Home in Hartford in light of this week's events overseas.

HARTFORD, Conn. — Together under the roof of the Ukrainian national home in Hartford, Ukrainian-Americans gathered for a vigil Tuesday night.

"With what has happened the last few days this is an opportunity for our community to come together and pray for peace in Ukraine," said Myron Kolinsky of Wethersfield.

RELATED: Connecticut residents rally in support of Ukraine

Their concern grows each day, especially after Russian president Vladamir Putin ordered troops into two separatist regions.

"If they invade as they seem to want to, what they're going to do to our people who love democracy what's going to happen to them," said Gloria Horbaty of Wallingford.

"Ukraine is a sovereign nation and we need to remember that no country should be invading a peaceful country," said Christina Iwanik of Farmington.

The Ukrainian community in Connecticut still has strong ties to their native country. Many of them still have family there.

"Some of my uncles and cousins live in Ukraine in specific and I'm just really praying for them and making sure they're okay," said Sophia Maksymiuk of South Windsor.

Even the youngest members of the community, learning about what is happening overseas. Tuesday nights are typically when children gather at the Ukrainian National Home.

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"We're teaching them about Ukraine, we're teaching them the culture, we're teaching them the history," Iwanik said.

History now, unfolding before their eyes. As the community waits to see what happens next, the hope for many is the sanctions President Biden announced Tuesday are strong enough to make a difference.

RELATED: Connecticut's home heating oil prices impacted by more than Russia-Ukraine conflict

"What we wait to find out now is if those sanctions are effective in getting those oligarchs to get Putin to change his behavior and say pull out of Ukraine. And most people don't think they'll be effective," said Dr. Matthew Schmidt, associate professor of National Security, International Affairs, and Political Science at the University of New Haven.

Gaby Molina is a reporter and anchor at FOX61 News. She can be reached at gmolina@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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