NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — As the world watches two nations at war, Nashville heard families calling for peace.
Ukrainians, Russians, and Americans stood at the steps of the state capitol Friday morning to make it clear that NATO allies need to step in before it’s too late.
It could be as simple as waving the Ukraine flag or speaking up in solidarity. Here, people believe that any little can make a difference.
What we can only see from thousands of miles away, many of these friends and family hear every night. They say so many have been hiding in bunkers near the capital of Kyiv, as Russia continues its unprovoked assault on their homeland.
Olena Sabra says NATO allies need to understand how dire things are for families who can hardly speak for themselves.
Her mother is from Russia but lives in Ukraine and Sabra says it’s been hard explaining why help may be far off.
"Last night I talked to my mom. She was in the shelter. She’s originally from Russia. Her native language is Russian. She asked me, 'is this reality? Russia attacked us? For real? What’s going on?'" Sabra said.
Some say the confusion comes from how media overseas has painted a completely different picture of who is responsible for this war.
One woman claimed, "their television is all filtered. Their media is all filtered. People are not aware of what’s happening for real. They only know that Putin is trying to protect their country which is not the case."
Alisa Kaiser said most here have been up all night with family in Ukraine. She says they’re terrified for what could happen next with Russia showing no signs of slowing down.
"I have friends in Kyiv right now who are sleeping in the subway station because they are no longer safe in their homes. Their pets, their children are all with them," Kaiser said.
As much as Ukraine is willing to fight for their country, Kaiser says they need outside help.
"We need to make sure that this does not go further than it already has gone. It’s gone too far. The war has been in my country since 2014 and the world has just been watching us struggle for the last however many years," Kaiser said.
NATO allies have made it clear they will not fight Russian troops in Ukraine. They however have committed to protecting their allies that border the country if Russia expands their reach.
Kaiser worries that sanctions may not be enough. If they are the only course of action from NATO allies, then she and others ask that Russia be removed from the SWIFT financial system.
This would make it almost impossible for Russia to move money around and bankroll their war, as the network connects banks from around the world.
"We need to stop Putin altogether, otherwise this is not going to work. We need Europe to impose sanctions and not just talk about them," Kaiser said.