Hundreds rally outside MIT after the Russian invasion and in support of Ukraine and its people

Hundreds of people against the Russian aggression in Ukraine gathered on Hockfield Court at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Monday.

Ukrainian students and first-generation Americans alike called on Americans to take more action in the European conflict. However, this was not the only message asked of the students of one of the most prestigious technology schools in the world.

MIT freshman Sasha Horokhl asked that people try and help the Ukrainian people in any way. They are giving aid to UNICEF or the Red Cross, the Ukrainian army. She spoke of the friends who are even using their skills to hack Russian media websites that are spreading misinformation.

The event was organized to raise awareness of the conflict and highlight the suffering of the Ukrainian people. Horokhl told MassLive of a 19-year-old friend who, like so many other citizens, has been handed a rifle to fight off Russian regular soldiers on the streets of Kyiv.

“My classmates [back in Ukraine] who are chemistry majors are coming together, making Molotov cocktails,” said Horokhl to the gathered crowd. “Others, computer science majors, are making cyber-attacks on the Russian fake news and propaganda websites.”

She asked that the people gathered work together to help in any way they could.

MIT Ukraine protest

Kateryna Morhun, a computer science student at MIT told MassLive that she and others are concerned that the US and its allies are not doing enough to help the Ukraine. (Douglas Hook / MassLive)

Kateryna Morhun, a computer science student at the Cambridge-based technology university, told MassLive that she feels that if people can donate to humanitarian organizations, it would be a start.

Thousands of refugees are trying to flee the country after the Russian invasion, and the situation is becoming dire, according to various Ukrainian students gathered at the MIT campus.

Ukrainians crossed into neighboring countries to the west in search of safety. Those arriving were primarily women, children and the elderly after Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday banned men of military age from leaving the country.

“Stand with Ukraine,” came the chant as the students made their way from Hockfield Court to the main MIT building on Memorial Drive.

Days after Russia deployed troops into Ukraine premises and launched military actions against the European country, MIT officials announced that the university will be severing ties with Russian university: Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology.

MIT made the announcement on the MIT Skoltech program website on Friday, Feb. 25.

“In light of the unacceptable military actions against Ukraine by the Russian government, MIT President L. Rafael Reif, in consultation with senior leadership, determined that MIT’s relationship with the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech) must end,” the announcement read.

Morhun, and Vlada Petrusenko, who also studies computer sciences at MIT, both said that they feel that Ukraine’s allies should be doing more.

MIT Ukraine protest

Yelena Kadeykima, came out to MIT to support the Ukraine and its people in the war that started on Feb. 24. (Douglas Hook / MassLive)

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, President Joe Biden defended his decision to preserve access to Russian energy in order “to limit the pain the American people are feeling at the gas pump.” But some academics, lawmakers and other analysts say that excluding an industry at the heart of the Russian economy essentially limits the sanctions and could embolden Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Not all the gathered crowd are American or Ukrainian. Yelena Kadeykima and Max Metlitski, both born in Russia but now living in Massachusetts, held signs stating that they don’t support Russian aggression in Ukraine.

They briefly mentioned the protests taking place in cities across Russia over the war.

Thousands of Russian anti-war protesters have been arrested by police after taking to the streets in support of their Ukrainian neighbors, according to USA Today.

Horokhl, Morhun and numerous other Ukrainians studying at the university are deeply worried about their families back in Europe. They all said that they are watching to see what country, if any, will commit in a more significant way in pushing the Russians back across their border.

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