JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Bombs continue to fall on Ukraine, which has prompted Jacksonville City leaders to officially support the country.
First Coast News spoke to a former Ukrainian Diplomat about what she hopes will come out of a local resolution.
Just days after finishing her term as the press secretary for the Ukrainian Embassy in the United States, Natalia Solyeva was watching TV inside her Jacksonville home when the first bombs hit Ukrainian cities.
“The most important part is the civilians. I think they don't deserve to pay this price," Solyeva explained.
She says, although no one expected a full invasion, Russia had already begun surrounding Ukraine last year.
“Russia used this excuse of so-called military exercises, to bring its troops to our borders," she said.
Solyeva says international action like sanctions and military assistance is critical, but continuing to spread awareness of the conflict is just as important.
This week, a group of Ukrainian Americans worked with councilmember Al Ferraro to file a resolution calling on the Jacksonville City Council to support the people of Ukraine, and stand in solidarity with local Ukrainians.
“We're starting here with our local authorities, and it's going to be a big help to draw more attention to this issue," the former diplomat said. "That we need help. And we need help today, not like in a month, because people are dying there right now.“
Solyeva's husband, Bert Watson, is the president of Watson & Company, a local government relations firm.
He believes the state can also take action. He says the Florida pension fund has tens of millions of dollars invested in Russian companies.
“I'd like to suggest that they should divest those funds, get rid of those investments and perhaps consider doing something longer term to help Ukraine," Watson explained. "They deserve that opportunity.“
The Ukraine Resolution is set to be up for an emergency vote during Tuesday night’s city council meeting.