8 THE QUEENS COURIER • MARCH 3, 2022 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
Ridgewood small business owner concerned for
friends, family amid Russian invasion of Ukraine
BY CARLOTTA MOHAMED
Aft er Russia launched a full-scale invasion
of Ukraine, Queens business owner
Stepan Rogulskyi, of Maspeth, is constantly
receiving updates from his friends
and family back home who are caught in
the middle of the war.
Rogulskyi, a native Ukrainian who
immigrated to the U.S. in 2008 in pursuit
of a better life, owns Varenyk House,
a restaurant located at 67-14 Fresh Pond
Rd. in Ridgewood that serves Ukrainian
and eastern European food. He told QNS
how he tries to stay in contact with his
family multiple times throughout the day
to make sure they are safe.
“My mother is stressed right now and
when they turn on the TV it’s only war,”
Rogulskyi said. “She is worried that anything
can happen at any moment.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin
announced that he had “decided to conduct
a special military operation” to protect
eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region,
two days aft er recognizing the “People’s
Republics” of Donetsk and Luhansk,
also known as the Donbas region, as
Th e confl ict in eastern Ukraine started
in 2014, according to the International
Crisis Group, and has killed over 14,000
people. Th e war pits Ukrainian government
forces against Russia-backed separatists
for control over much of the two
heavily industrialized regions of Donetsk
Ukrainian President Volodymyr
Zelenskyy has declared martial law,
urging citizens to not panic as Russia
launches military strikes.
Rogulskyi’s mother, father, and two
brothers reside in Truskavets in western
Ukraine, while his grandparents live in a
Rogulskyi, whose restaurant serves
Ukrainian and eastern European food,
told QNS that he hasn’t slept much since
the invasion began, but wanted to continue
“Last night, I only slept two hours and I
came in to work because I still have a job
to do,” Rogulskyi said.
Rogulskyi checks daily updates on
social media and the Ukrainian news
media’s coverage on the war.
“Right now, all Russian TV news coverage
is showing that Ukraine is bombing
themselves,” Rogulskyi said. “Th e situation
changes very quickly. One hour,
they’re saying that a small city in one
region is occupied with Russian troops,
and am hearing an hour later that Ukraine
has defended and took it back.”
During work, Rogulskyi received
prayers and support from clients who
came into the restaurant. He is asking for
Americans and Russians to come out and
rally against the war and stand in solidarity
with the people of Ukraine.
“What we have in the U.S. is human dignity
and if they want to show what they
stand for, which is freedom and human
rights, then they must do something
more than just sanctions,” Rogulskyi said.
“Th e Ukrainians will never agree to any
kind of contract with that killer Putin.
We are not gonna stay on our knees
and we have nothing to lose besides our
“Th e Ukranians’ vision is changing and
we know why we live, what we want.
We want to build up our country, and
soon the sun will shine over Ukraine,”
Calling Russia’s invasion an “unprovoked
and unjustifi ed” attack against
Ukraine, President Joe Biden issued a
statement saying, “President Putin has
chosen a premeditated war that will bring
a catastrophic loss of life and human
“Russia alone is responsible for the
death and destruction this attack will
bring, and the United States and its allies
and partners will respond in a united and
divisive way. Th e world will hold Russia
accountable,” Biden said.
Th e president met with leaders of the
G7 Summit, and authorized a new round
of sanctions and limitations in response
to Putin’s war of choice against Ukraine.
Queens lawmakers have taken to social
media to express their concern and
support for the Ukrainian community in
the borough and abroad.
City Council Speaker Adrienne
Adams tweeted, “As we watch Russia
attack Ukraine, my heart goes out to
the Ukrainian people and our Ukrainian
communities throughout New York City.
All war is heartbreaking, and this one is
already no diff erent. We stand in solidarity
with our Ukrainian neighbors and pray
Aft er visiting Kyiv and other areas
of Ukraine last year on a mission trip,
Queens Borough President Donovan
Richards said the “beauty of the country
was matched only by the strength and
kindness of its people.”
Richards condemned Putin’s invasion,
saying it is “pointless and heinous.”
“His government must pay dearly for
its attack on its free, democratic neighbor
and the people of Ukraine. To our
Russian American community in Queens,
we know this is not your war. We stand
with you against Putin’s violence and evil,”
In a statement, Congressman Tom
Suozzi said Putin’s illegitimate and
unprovoked attack in Ukraine demands
a united strong response from the world
“Putin cannot be appeased. We must
summon strength. ‘Th e veneer of civilization
is paper thin. We are its guardians,
and we cannot rest,’ said Tom Lantos,
former member of Congress and
Holocaust survivor,” Suozzi said.
Congresswoman Grace Meng said she is
praying for the people of Ukraine in their
defense of democracy and freedom.
“Putin’s unprovoked attack against
#Ukraine is outrageous & we and our
allies must immediately hold him
accountable for this unacceptable
aggression,” Meng tweeted.
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Photo by Carlotta Mohamed
Stepan Rogulskyi is a native Ukrainian who immigrated to the U.S. in 2008 in pursuit of a better life.
He owns a restaurant, Varenyk House, located at 67-14 Fresh Pond Rd., that serves Ukrainian and
eastern European food.