Ukraine's Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova visited Minneapolis on Nov. 30 to launch a whistle-stop tour to rally support for Kyiv's ongoing defense against Russia. The tour is hosted by the think tank German Marshall Fund (GMF) of the U.S. and the philanthropic Howard G. Buffett Foundation.
The "Whistlestops for Ukraine" tour aims to boost community dialogue, highlight the connection between supporting Ukraine and U.S. security and prosperity, and showcase existing community efforts for Ukraine. It also seeks to contribute to discussions about Ukraine and cultivate advocates for the cause. The tour is set to continue in 2024, covering various states, including Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Texas.
At the tour's first stop in Minnesota, Markarova was joined by Howard G. Buffett, head of the philanthropic organization, and Heather Conley of the Marshall Fund for the event that focused on encouraging community dialogue about the war and bolster support for Ukraine.
Several injured Ukrainian soldiers participated in the event. They have been treated in Minnesota through the Protez Foundation, which provides prosthetics manufactured in the state for Ukrainian children, civilians, and military who have lost limbs in the war.
"We can win this one. It is very difficult ... we are fighting this fight every day, there are a barrage of missiles and drones on peaceful cities every day," Markarova told the crowd of about 50 people, according to the local Star Tribune report published on Nov. 30. "But we will stay the course. We need you, our friends, to stay the course with us."
GMF President Conley underscored that global challenges, such as the war in Ukraine, are "intensely local." "What happens in Ukraine matters to American farmers and our country as a whole. I’m heartened by what I see today in Minnesota, where local communities have come together to back Ukraine."