Polish Americans Support Families of Ukrainian Protestors

Vitaliy Kotsyuba and Ivan Blok were killed by bullets during clashes with police at Kiev's Maidan. (Photo via Nowy Dziennik)

Vitaliy Kotsyuba and Ivan Blok were killed by bullets during clashes with police at Maidan in Kiev. (Photo via Nowy Dziennik)

The Pulaski Association of Business and Professional Men – an organization of Polish-American business owners – is financially supporting two Ukrainian families living near Lviv, whose fathers and husbands died in the recent protest at Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine.

In a gesture of solidarity with the Ukrainian people and a desire to help those in need, the members of the Pulaski Association resolved at the most recent members meeting to donate $1,000 to each victim’s family. The money will be sent directly to Natalia Kotsyuba and Natalia Blok, whose husbands died on February 20 while fighting for Ukraine’s freedom and democracy at Independence Square. The two men had young wives, who will now be singlehandedly raising their kids.

“We chose these two families, because the father of one of my workers knows them very well,” said Dariusz Knapik, former president of the Pulaski Association and CEO of Victoria Consulting & Development. “We wanted the money to go directly to the victims’ families – that’s why we decided to send it directly, without using any intermediaries,” he added.

Vitaliy Kotsyuba was 32 years old. He was born in Lviv and lived in the small village of Voroblyachyn. He was killed by a sniper’s bullet during clashes with the police in Kiev’s center. Vladimir, one of his friends and a reporter for a local newspaper published in Jaworow (near the border with Poland) told Nowy Dziennik that Vitaliy was a very nice, quiet, level-headed and mature man. “His family always found support in him and would come for advice,” he said.

When he died, his wife Natalia was in Poland, where she had gone for work, and their two children were under the care of their aunt Irena. “It is extremely difficult to live in Ukraine if you don’t have a job,” Vladimir said. “Vitaliy went to Kiev to participate in the anti-government protests, because he no longer wanted to bear the humiliation and violence President Yanukovych started to use against the people. He died from a sniper’s bullet,” Vladimir said.

Ivan Blok, whose name on the victims’ list reads as Ivan Tour, was 41. He also was killed by a sniper’s bullet while protesting in Independence Square. He lived in Gorodok, in the Lviv region. He left behind three kids and a young wife.

Both Ivan and Vitaliy – just like tens of other victims “paid with their lives for the dream of living happily in a free and democratic country.”

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