Ukrainians rally in downtown Tucson

Chanting "Russia - out of Ukraine", about three dozen members of the Ukrainian community rallied at the corner of Broadway and Church at noon.

Most of them carried the nation's blue and yellow flag. The blue signifying peace, the sky and streams of the former Eastern Bloc nation, which became independent in 1991. The yellow reminds the world the Ukraine is known as the "breadbasket of Europe".

They sang the nation's national anthem as the flags blew in the calm, afternoon breeze.

The Ukraine flag and the American flag flew together in solidarity they said.

They estimate there are about 300 in the Ukrainian community in Tucson, at least 70 of which are members of the St. Michael Ukrainian Catholic Church.

They rallied, as they hoped hundreds of other communities across the nation would, to show the country is in solidarity in their opposition to the Russian takeover of Crimea and its support of the former Ukrainian regime.

The rally was led by Father Andriy Chirnovsky, from St Michael.

He says the biggest concern of their community is that Russian President Vladimir Putin will not stop with the occupation of Crimea.

He says there is no entry to Crimea from Russia and he points out Crimean water and electricity come from Ukraine.

"We believe he needs at least a sliver of Ukraine," he says.

As a group, the people said they are happy the United States has imposed sanctions on Russia but don't believe they are tough enough.

"We understand the United States has war fatigue from Iraq and Afghanistan," Father Chirnovsky says. "We don't want the United States to be involved in a ground war."

He adds "we don't want this to escalate into a nuclear conflict."

But he says President Putin cannot be trusted to stop what he called "aggression."

"What we want is for Americans to understand you can stop Putin now or your 're going to have to stop him at much greater cost later on," he says.