By Howard Monroe

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As tensions rise on the Ukrainian border with Russia, local Ukrainians in our region are banding together. A rally is being planned for this weekend at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

That rally is taking place Sunday afternoon. Afterward, they will march to Love Park.

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Those who spoke with CBS3 say keeping Russia out of Ukraine is about maintaining their freedom.

“We are as concerned about Ukraine as if we were Ukrainians in Ukraine,” said Gene Luciw, president of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America in Philadelphia.

Worries are growing among some in the local Ukrainian community as tensions rise with Russia. The Philadelphia area is home to thousands of people of Ukrainian ancestry.

“We have a beautiful culture, a beautiful society and we are the guarantors. We’re strong and we guarantee other people’s freedom and we want Americans to think this Ukraine is exactly the type of country that is worthy of that guarantee,” Luciw said.

Russia recently announced new military exercises, sending more equipment like surface-to-air missile system units to neighboring countries. The fear is that if Ukraine is taken over, Russia won’t stop.

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“All that they want, they want to be a free country. They don’t want to be part of the Soviet Union that Putin tries so desperately to recreate. They just want to be free,” said Iryna Mazur, honorary consul or Ukraine in Philadelphia.

The archbishop of the Archeparchy of Philadelphia is traveling to Ukraine. But the church in Northern Liberties is asking you for your prayers, for you to be informed of the conflict, and support for the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

Ukraine has been at war with Russia since 2014 — that’s when Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.

And as locals watch from nearly 5,000 miles away, all they can pray for is their country’s survival.

“I absolutely have no doubts that Ukraine will exist because it’s just not possible to kill something which is right,” Mazur said.

A bipartisan congressional delegation is traveling to Ukraine. It includes three local representatives.

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As for the rally, it starts at 2 p.m. Sunday.