WASHINGTON — In the face of the recent Russian offensive on Kharkiv, five professional Ukrainian musicians, now active-duty soldiers and members of Ukraine’s Cultural Forces, came to the United States “from the Ukrainian Frontline.”

They intend to play concerts “with thanks” and promote the culture to Americans, from House representatives to people in the subway.

Members of Ukraine’s Cultural Forces with Rep. Crow, D-Colo., on May 22, 2024. (Mariia Hlyten/Svitanok DC)

“We come to speak wisdom to show our soul through our culture,” said the Founder of Cultural Forces, Mykolai Sierga. “We didn’t speak with [Congresspeople] about the aid for Ukraine. We just keep showing them why they need to support Ukraine, what kind of culture, and what kind of people they are saving.”

Mykolai Sierga signs a Ukrainian flag after the May 23, 2024 concert. (Sophia Didinova/MEDILL NEWS SERVICE)

Seirga, a senior lieutenant at the Armed Forces and a famous Ukrainian presenter and musician, started forming the Cultural Forces in March 2022 to perform at the frontline and support the spirit of Ukrainian soldiers in a high-stress environment.

“We need to give them the possibility to sleep, and culture helps to do this,” he said.

The Cultural Forces consist of nearly 80 musicians divided into eight groups, each performing two to five concerts a day. On Thursday, the Forces are giving 20 concerts, one of which took place in front of the White House.

Three members of the Ukrainian Cultural Forces take a group photo with the audience. (Sophia Didinova/MEDILL NEWS SERVICE)

Among the audience are Ukrainian refugees, proudly wearing folk embroidered shirts, Vyshyvankas, and Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian Americans.

A woman in Vyshyvanka holding a Ukrainian flag records the concert. (Sophia Didinova/MEDILL NEWS SERVICE)

“I’m here to support Ukraine; it’s almost like the beacon of hope for the future of world peace and stability,” said David Root, who has been coming out twice weekly since February 2022. Today, he heard the traditional Ukrainian string instrument, bandura, for the first time.

David Root has been attending rallies and supporting Ukraine since the very beginning of the war. (Sophia Didinova/MEDILL NEWS SERVICE)

The Cultural Forces concerts also feature a violin player, a pianist, and a vocalist, who perform Ukrainian and world classical pieces along with the covers of popular hits. They intend to give concerts in New York City, Cleveland, Detroit, Kalamazoo and other cities North of Washington until the end of June when the Cultural Forces return to the Ukrainian frontline.

Here are more pictures:

Taras Stoliar, a People’s Artist of Ukraine and a senior soldier and reconnaissance operative at Territorial Defense Forces, plays bandura. (Sophia Didinova/MEDILL NEWS SERVICE)

The concert viewers came wearing Vyshyvankas and Ukrainian flags. (Sophia Didinova/MEDILL NEWS SERVICE)

Olha Rukavishnikova, conductor and symphonist, and reconnaissance and Grenade Launcher Operator at Territorial Defense Forces, plays violin. (Sophia Didinova/MEDILL NEWS SERVICE)

A Ukrainian (on the left) came to the U.S. from Kharkiv 10 days ago after spending the winter under missile attacks. Her family, including her son, is in Ukraine. (Sophia Didinova/MEDILL NEWS SERVICE)

Robert Harvey (on the right) has demonstrated daily in support of Ukraine since April 2022. (Sophia Didinova/MEDILL NEWS SERVICE)

Gainesville, Va., resident whose father came to the U.S. from Ukraine 70 years ago drove 40 miles to attend the concert and donate to support Ukraine. (Sophia Didinova/MEDILL NEWS SERVICE)