Ukrainian Flags Adorn the Kennedy Family Compound as Kerry Welcomes Nation's Former First Lady

·3 min read
Kennedy family meeting with former Ukrainian first lady Kateryna Yushchenko
Kennedy family meeting with former Ukrainian first lady Kateryna Yushchenko

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The Kennedy family is once again expressing support for war-torn Ukraine, now in the form of hanging the nation's flags around their Massachusetts estate — and welcoming family friend Kateryna Yushchenko, who served as first lady of Ukraine from 2005 to 2010.

"The Ukrainian flag flies high at the Kennedy Compound," wrote Kerry Kennedy, daughter of former Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, in an Instagram post on Friday, noting that the images were taken over Labor Day weekend.

The caption is accompanied by five photos from various locations on the family's property, showing multiple members of the political dynasty posing with Yushchenko.

The photos reveal that Yushchenko, 61, spent time with Kerry, 63, and her mother, 94-year-old Ethel Skakel Kennedy — and that Ukraine flags were hung at several locations, including the onetime homes of Robert F. Kennedy, John F. Kennedy and Joseph P. Kennedy.

An additional post on Kerry's Instagram page shows her and brother Chris Kennedy posing with Yushchenko at Brambletyde, standing in front of a festive corn hole set and a flagpole prominently displaying the U.S. and Ukraine flags.

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Kerry — who serves as president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, an advocacy organization started by Ethel in 1968 — has long been outspoken against Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

The day after Russian troops launched a full-scale takeover attempt in February, she penned a joint letter with Yushchenko for the Chicago Tribune highlighting their friendship — and, more importantly, urging Ukrainian Americans to stand up for the independent nation of Ukraine and help people around the world see the damage caused by Putin's actions.

"As human rights activists, we have over the years formed a deep friendship, our bond strengthened over shared work to educate students about speaking truth to the world's power and providing them with the tools to create a better, more peaceful world," they wrote.

The letter continued: "And so we feel that with this authority, combined with our up-close vantage points from political families in both the east and west, we must urge Americans, particularly the more than 50,000 Ukrainian Americans who call the Chicago area home, to be the messengers in disseminating the whole story."

RELATED: Zelenskyy Receives JFK Profile in Courage Award amid Russian Invasion: 'Doing the Impossible Every Day'

While Kerry has made a point to champion Ukrainians' human rights, her branch of the Kennedy family isn't the only one standing behind the country's fight to defend its independence.

In May, U.S. Ambassador to Australia Caroline Kennedy — who is honorary president of her father's JFK Library — honored Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy with the JFK Profile in Courage Award for "doing the impossible every day," serving as a pillar of strength for his country.

The honor, which is rarely awarded to an international politician, was created in 1989 by JFK's family to recognize "a public official (or officials) at the federal, state or local level whose actions demonstrate the qualities of politically courageous leadership in the spirit of Profiles in Courage, President Kennedy's 1957 Pulitzer prize-winning book."

The Russian attack on Ukraine is an evolving story, with information changing quickly. Follow PEOPLE's complete coverage of the war here, including stories from citizens on the ground and ways to help.