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Ukrainian woman in South Dakota urges support for her home country

A Ukrainian woman in Sioux Falls says South Dakotans should urge their congressional delegates to support Ukraine in its fight against a Russian invasion.

Alla Kureninova attended a Sioux Falls Downtown Rotary Club meeting Monday that featured U.S. Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-South Dakota.

Kureninova said she fears for relatives in her home country.

“My entire family is in Ukraine right on the eastern border of Ukraine, so they have been in the thick of it since day one," she said.

When asked how to help Ukraine, Kureninova said to reach out to Ukrainians and ask members of the U.S. Congress to support aid for the country.

Johnson said he supports helping Ukraine but not sending in U.S. troops.

“The Ukrainian people are not asking for us to fight this battle for them," Johnson said. "They are not asking for American men and women in uniform to die on the Ukrainian battlefield. They are asking for us to provide them the tools in order to defend themselves, and that’s what we should do.”

Kureninova says some humanitarian efforts are not able to reach the Ukrainians who need the help, and sending money is useless because there is nothing on Ukrainian shelves.

She says there are roughly 2,0000 to 4,000 Ukrainian people living in the Sioux Falls area.

“Two to four thousand people that are not sleeping well right now, not eating well, but still going to work like I do and trying to do anything and everything they can for their family," she said.

Kureninova says some of her relatives escaped, but they're still affected by the war.

“Even when people do escape that, my sisters and their young kids were able to escape it, it is not over for them.”