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EXCLUSIVE: Family-owned flag shop sewing solidarity for Ukraine as state leaders call for welcoming refugees

Flagman in Avon has received hundreds of orders for Ukrainian flags from across the country

AVON, Conn. — Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine was meant to divide its people, but it’s had the opposite effect. Ukrainian nationalism has strengthened across Europe, in the United States and right here in Connecticut.

Ukrainian flags are flying in the air, from the Connecticut State Capitol to Hartford City Hall, and they're also flying off of store shelves.

“We’ve sold probably a couple hundred of them,” said Jordan Ahlstrom, the Owner of Flagman in Avon.

“It’s a very simple statement of solidarity,” remarked Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin. The Governor’s residence is also flying a Ukrainian flag. The flag was made here in the USA; right in Avon, in fact.

RELATED: These are the companies cutting ties with Russia after Ukraine invasion

At Flagman, typically the winter season is slow for them. Not this year. They are putting top priority on making Ukrainian flags. They’ve stocked up on all the blue and yellow fabric and are able to make about 100 a day. Even that’s not enough.

“I don’t want orders because of what’s going on,” said Ahlstrom, “...but I do like seeing the support that’s going on. Some people were paying $20 for a flag and around $50-$60 just to ship it, which really shows the support for the Ukrainian people,” added Ahlstrom.

While some Connecticut businesses have chosen to stop selling Russian items, Flagman has only sold one recent Russian flag.

“We didn’t ask what they were doing with it,” said Ahlstrom. He explained why they won’t be removing it from inventory.

“There’s a lot of people protesting in Russia and still might be proud of their countrymen. So it’s not something where we want to pick sides and we won’t sell a Russian flag because there are still good people there.”

RELATED: How the Salvation Army is helping Ukraine and surrounding European countries

And as the war continues, Ukrainian solidarity spreads. Cities and states now stand ready to resettle refugees.

“The City of Hartford has a long a proud tradition of welcoming refugees, whether it’s from Bosnia and Albania in the ’90s, whether it’s Afghans in the wake of the withdrawal or whether it’s any of the 1.2-million Ukrainians who have now had to flee their country in face of this onslaught from Russia,” Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin told FOX61.

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A sentiment soon echoed by Gov. Ned Lamont, who tweeted, ”If there is a need to accept refugees from Ukraine due to Russia's unjust invasion, we'll welcome them with open arms.”

Mayor Bronin told FOX61 that Hartford would be the perfect spot to host Ukrainian refugees because of its already diverse population and because the Ukrainian National Home is located here. They’ve already started discussing logistics with refugee settlement agencies.

Matt Caron is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at mcaron@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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