St Vlodymyr's Church resonated with prayer on Saturday evening, but voices outside were tense and desperate.
The hub for the Ukrainian Catholic community in Wollongong was packed with dozens opposing the Russian invasion, including Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery, Member for Wollongong Peter Scully, Member for Whitlam Stephen Jones, Cunningham candidate Alison Byrnes and Bishop of Wollongong Brian Mascord.
The throng were dressed in everything from traditional Ukrainian garments to skate shirts.
Elderly men and women with walking sticks made their way up the church steps, alongside mothers, fathers and children too young to understand what was happening.
Yuliya Malcolm is from Belarus, where Russian troops are being stationed to mount attacks on Ukraine.
"I'm here to support my friends from Ukraine, I'm here to show my people don't want war," she said.
"People are so afraid - my mum says phone calls and social media are monitored, and if you talk about war, someone comes and knocks on your door.
"Something has to be done. It's time for the world to stop talking."
Yuliya's husband Andrew is from Australia, but the conflict in Ukraine deels deeply personal.
His mother and stepfather were killed in the MH17 crash.
"It just feels like it's all happening again," he said. "We hoped peace, or something good, might come out of it, but if anything it's all got worse.
"I don't know what the answer is, but I don't think sanctions are going to have any sort of effect."
Father Simon Ckuj thanked attendees for their support of Ukraine.
"I've been here for 18 years and this is the most people I've seen in this church," he said.
"We are filled with sadness, but we hope despite the darkness of the days, weeks and God forbid, years to come, the light of Christ's resurrection will shine through."
He presented Councillor Bradbery with a Ukrainian flag, to be flown from Wollongong Citsy Hall in a show of support for the people of Ukraine.
In the two days since Russia began the invasion of Ukraine thousands have fled the capital city of Kyiv.
Footage has emerged from Kyiv of newborn infants in a bomb shelter, after they were evacuated from a neonatal care ward, and of a Russian tank repeatedly running over a car.
It is understood the man who was driving the car was later freed, still alive.
An Illawarra woman of Russian and Ukrainian heritage has denounced the war in Ukraine.
Anastasiya spoke to the Illawarra Mercury at St Vlodymyr's Church on Kenny Street Saturday, as a vigil was held.
"It's literally hell over there now," she said.
"They are killing civilians, they are shooting over hospitals. What is happening is a crime against humanity."
Anastasiya, who lived in Russia until she was 10, when her family moved to Lviv in Ukraine, said she was in shock after speaking to her mother, extended family and friends who remain in Ukraine.
"They are sitting in their apartments crying and hugging their kids," she said.
"They have special signals for if people need to find bomb shelter, so they are just resting between the signals.
"I cannot imagine living in such heavy stress. Two weeks ago they were laughing, living a normal life.
"I've lost so many tears over the past couple of days I don't know if I can cry anymore.
"Every bomb which is falling now is bombing my heart.
"The only little thing I can do is speak out in public about this, so people know the crimes that are being done."
Anastasiya said she watched both Ukrainian and Russian news.
She disagreed with the accusations Russia had levelled against Ukraine to justify the invasion.
"They say we are Nazis, that we hate Russians," she said. "Russia says in Ukraine there is no place for the Russian language. It's a lie.
"My mum is a Russian-speaking person, she has worked in Ukraine her whole life speaking Russian.
"Nobody ever told my mother that she was not welcome in Ukraine."
Anastasiya said she was grateful to the people in Russia, Australia and across the world who condemned the war.
"We are all just simple little people, but by drops adding one to one we can attract attention to this hell," she said.
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