Ukrainian Americans speak about clashes abroad
Two rival rallies were held in eastern Ukraine Wednesday as tension continues to mount.
On one side, the demonstrators were pro-Russian involvement. They re-captured the administrative headquarters and flew the Russian flag on its roof.
The other group was pro-Ukraine. Protesters called for peace and a united Ukraine.
The city has seen persistent pro-Russian demonstrations amid Russian President Vladimir Putin's declaration of Russia's right to invade.
The unrest and violence in the Ukraine is affecting many Ukrainian Americans in northern Michigan as they worry about their friends and family there.
â??I was just walking there with my brother in August and September looking at how beautiful it was and how international and peaceful it was,â?? said Jenya Cobb of Benzonia. â??What they've done is a crime. They should be punished, be arrested. They're criminals.â??
Jenya Cobb is now a U.S. citizen and has been in the country for going on twelve years. The rest of her family still lives in Ukraine. She says she is in constant communication with them.
â??I feel like my family is being threatened and that's not right. My family didn't get paid for more than a month. They stopped paying any money what's come from Kiev, what's supposed to be, it's stopped. So people are getting hungry and getting more mad. Now they're not going to send any money from Donestk to Kiev. That's what they're talking about,â?? said Cobb.
Cobb says the previous president should still be in power.
â??In the constitution, it's clearly said the president has to die or impeachment or people have to choose him. It hasn't happened like that. So he's still legal president and that's how it should be. President Yanukovych officially sent a letter and actually met with Putin and asked officially for help. So constitutionally, Putin is doing everything right. I hope Russian soldiers will come and will do a little stability. They're not staging up and going in the streets because they're behind a president. They're behind a constitution and they want everything right and violence to be stopped,â?? said Cobb.
Others say they look forward to what the interim president can accomplish and that they need help from the United States.
â??Now in 2014, the current president is a Christian,â?? said Davyd Silkovskiy of Traverse City. â??So it's a big change. Hopefully that's something in God's plans that he's trying to do. Nobody knows the real truth.â??
â??The reason why they're doing that is like one hundred percent not clear because there's a lot of questions but really little answers,â?? said Vladimir Silkovskiy of Traverse City. â??There's no blood yet, that's what makes me happy at this point.â??
Although they find themselves on opposite sides of the argument, both groups agree it comes down to caring about the people involved.
â??It's all Ukrainian. It's not pro-Russians or peaceful protestors. It's all Ukrainians,â?? said Cobb.
â??Here in America, all the people can do is pray. There's nothing much you can help through the ocean instead of praying,â?? said Davyd Silkovskiy. â??It doesn't matter if it's our relatives or not. It's still people getting hurt and a bunch of deaths. It's still going to hurt our own hearts.â??
â??We call our family and try to go on the internet and some Ukrainian sites and Ukrainian news channels through internet and check out what's going on. It's going to hurt our people, our nation. It makes us feel a little bit better because our family lives far from that hot spot, but still it's going to be bad,â?? said Vladimir Silkovskiy.