RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- When the United States woke up to images of President Joe Biden on the ground in Kyiv, Ukraine, to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the implications and meanings could be felt here in the Triangle.
"The big deal is of human presence," said Olga Fedorychev. She and her high school sweetheart now live in Raleigh. "To have (President Biden) of such height and such position to enter the country...and to be at risk as everyone else -- it was a very pleasant feeling."
Many around the world see Biden's visit as a show of full support for a nation grappling with fighting against a violent Russian offensive and regime.
"Unfortunately, we have a very crazy neighbor with a very crazy head of the government that is this can backfire in any direction," Fedorychev said of Russian President Vladimir Putin. "And I really hope it's gonna send the message that everyone is supporting including the United States...and if the whole world is supporting Ukraine, then maybe Russian government is wrong."
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Ukrainian Association of North Carolina board member Oleh Wolowyna said Russia has been picking on Ukraine for years, dating to the Crimean invasion of 2014.
"Because Putin said that in so many words, he wants to destroy (Western) democracy. He wants to destroy our rule of law. He wants to take over and being a huge superpower. He doesn't care about the cost," said Wolowyna.
Wolowyna said Biden's visit is important not only to Ukraine and other NATO allies but to China as well; which happens to be watching.
"China is watching. And if they realize that Russians can get away with it, then the chances of them invading Taiwan will increase and that will eventually cost a lot of American lives. So these things are interconnected," he said.
This Friday, the Ukrainian Association of North Carolina plans to hold a vigil and memorial at the State Capitol in Raleigh to mark one year since the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.