BOLTON'S Ukrainian community is urging people to boycott Russian goods amid ongoing tensions between the two nations.
Members of the Ukrainian club in The Haulgh say they are horrified about the atrocities taking place in their country.
The Bolton branch of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB), claims Europe is “now at war”, after Russian tanks were believed to have illegally crossed Ukraine’s border.
Its members have subsequently backed the AUGB General Council’s calls to ban all Russian assets in the UK and say supermarkets should ban Russian products from their shelves.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has accused Russian armed forces of a ‘blatant violation’ of Ukraine’s sovereignty, while US President Barack Obama has said “the new images of Russian forces inside Ukraine make that plain for the world to see”.
Since April, 2,600 people are believed to have been killed in Eastern Ukraine and at least 1,000 Russian troops are believed to have entered the country.
Russia has denied sending troops and arms to Ukraine.
Yaroslav Tymchyshyn, the community officer for the Bolton branch of AUGB, said he was “deeply saddened” by what is happening in his homeland.
Mr Tymchyshyn, aged 60, who lives in The Haulgh, said: “I think people need to realise that Europe is now at war — I strongly believe that. My wife’s cousin was in a battalion in the Eastern front for three months and he will not talk about the horrors he saw there.
“The people of Bolton can assist us by boycotting Russian products. I don’t want them to buy Russian Standard Vodka or anything associated with Russia.
“The West has got to ask itself — ‘how long can we carry on with these lies?’”
Peter Hrycaj, chairman of the Bolton branch of AUGB, described the situation in his homeland as a ‘tragedy’.
Mr Hrycaj, aged 63, of Horwich, said: “We are horrified with what’s been going on — this has been going on for many, many years. It’s a tragedy.
“It has been 23 years since Ukraine gained independence, but it feels like the past is repeating itself. Russia is trying to fool people in terms of its involvement.
“Anything that supports Ukraine and weakens Russia, whether it be banning Russian products or making other economic sanctions, has to be welcomed.”
A statement from the AUGB General Council said: “We call on the UK Government to act with strength and resolve now: to freeze all Russian assets in the UK and EU and to provide urgent medical and military assistance to Ukraine's government.
“This is not just Ukraine's fight. For the sake of long term peace and stability in all of Europe, Russia's relentless aggression, lies and breaches of international law cannot and must not be tolerated any longer.”