A spiritual leader of Ukrainian-Americans in the central San Joaquin Valley described a dire picture on the ground in his family’s home country, as relayed by friends trapped by the Russian invasion. The Rev. Dr. Greg Zubacz is pastor at the Ukrainian Greco-Catholic Apostalate of the Archangel Michael in Clovis. He faulted Western nations for not supplying sufficient arms to Ukrainians.

On Facebook, he said friends are relying on small arms and ammunition supplied by the Ukrainian government as they prepare for Russian troops to move into the nation’s cities. Some are making Molotov cocktails, homemade gasoline bombs for use against tanks, in their kitchen sinks.

Zubacz, who came to the Valley from Canada, is a veteran of the Canadian Navy and Air Force, and practiced as an attorney before becoming a priest. He is also an assistant professor at Fresno Pacific University.

His father immigrated to Canada from Ukraine, and his family has a history of persecution by the former Soviet Union. In the late 1940s, the family was deported from Ukraine to a gulag in Siberia, and two family members died there before the family was allowed to return to the Ukrainian city of Odessa. Zubacz said during Soviet rule, it was the objective of the Marxist government to “exterminate” Ukrainian language and culture through “Russification.” The very name of the capital, Kviv, was changed to the Russian, Kiev.

The motivations of Russian President Putin for the attack on Ukraine are unclear, said Zubacz, but “he is a product of a system that doesn’t have a logical way of changing its government.” And he said Putin was not in fear of President Joe Biden or afraid of sanctions, which he termed only “symbolic.”

“He knew this was his time to make a move.” Asked what will Ukrainians do against the invasion, he said: “People are going to fight back like lions. They love their country. The (Ukrainian) army will fall, and it will turn into a war of resistance.” Zubacz said that given Putin’s character, a nuclear conflict was not out of the question. “Putin certainly demonstrated he will do whatever it takes to win.”

To help with humanitarian relief, donate on the Philadelphia Archdiocese’s website ukrarcheparchy.us.

The above comes from a Feb. 26 article in the Fresno Bee.