BRISTOL, Conn. — There are so many ways Connecticut is showing support for Ukraine, including business owners sending both Ukraine and Russia a message.
Outside Bristol Hospital on Monday afternoon, several dozen employees, most with family or friends connected to Ukraine, held a brief but meaningful prayer service.
A Bristol Hospital nurse said she is emotionally broken.
"I'm just in pain to hear and see how my country is suffering right now and my people are suffering and I'm just extremely thankful for my Bristol Health family," said nurse Iryna Dmytryshyn, who grew up in Ukraine.
She moved to Connecticut from Ukraine nine years ago with her husband. She said she feels helpless.
"My youngest brother just joined military forces and he went to the east of Ukraine to fight," she said, with her voice trembling.
This war hits close to home, literally. Her family lives in western Ukraine right near an airport that she says was bombed.
"My family actually lives like two minutes walking distance from that airport," said Dmytryshyn.
She asks everyone to show support for Ukraine, even in the smallest way. And that's exactly what some local businesses are doing, including Seaside Wine & Spirits in Old Saybrook.
"We used to have Jewel of Russia, Taiga and Russian Standard in this area," said Traci Aglio Owner of the liquor store as she pointed to empty shelf space.
Products made in Russia are no longer sold in Seaside, including Stoli vodka, even though it is mostly distilled in Latvia.
"The wheat is grown in Russia and it is produced in a distillery partially in Russia," Aglio said.
Smirnoff vodka remains on the shelves, but she points out it is now made in Illinois and owned by an American company.
"I go home at the end of the day and I watch these poor people in Ukraine," said a reflective Aglio. "They didn't ask for this."
According to the Distilled Spirits Council, imports of Russian vodka to the United States are down nearly 79 percent since 2011 and accounted for only 1.3 percent of total vodka imports in 2021.
Tony Terzi is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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