WARREN (AP) – Michigan residents who back Ukrainian protesters are collecting medical supplies to be shipped to Kiev and holding rallies to show their support.

Priests blessed medical supplies on Thursday at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Warren, the Detroit Free Press reported. Ukrainian-born Olena Palyvoda and others have been closely monitoring developments in Kiev via online broadcasts and social media.

“My heart is crying,” said Palyvoda, 41, a professor of engineering at Wayne State University who is vice president of the Ukrainian-American Civic Committee. “I can’t sleep normally. It’s always in my head.”

The committee raised about $18,000 to help the protesters, Palyvoda said.

On Saturday night, special prayers are planned in support of protesters at St. Josaphat Catholic Church in Warren followed by a rally at 12:30 p.m. Sunday across the street from the cultural center. Several rallies already have taken place in the Detroit area.

“My heart goes out to them,” said Andrey Duzyj, 59, of Warren, vice president of the Detroit branch of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America. “My prayers go out to them. I couldn’t be prouder of them. They’re fighting for their lives, their freedom.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 40,000 Ukrainian-Americans in Michigan. Many are in the southeastern Michigan, where there are Ukrainian churches, cultural centers, museums, credit unions and a home for senior citizens.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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