Local Ukrainians react to violence in Ukraine

Created: 02/19/2014 5:45 PM WHEC.com
By: Lia Lando

News10NBC has been following the latest on the violence in Ukraine. Officials say they’ve reached a truce to end those protests. Those protests against President Viktor Vanukovych have turned deadly, leaving over two dozen people dead.

The images are certainly hard to watch for anybody, but imagine watching them and knowing you have friends and family in that country. That's exactly what some people in the Rochester area are dealing with.

Local Ukrainians say it is sad, unheard of and painful to watch the fires burn and people being killed in their home country.

News10NBC spoke to some Ukrainian customers at the Europa Deli in Penfield. People who were born in Ukraine, but now live in the Rochester area. They say they are watching in disbelief as their friends and family members are fighting. They watch the violence online and hear the horror stories through Facebook. News10NBC asked them what it's like to be so far away and not knowing if their loved ones are okay.

Maria Pawluk, originally from Ukraine, said, "It's been very painful to see my sisters and brothers suffering and our heart is bleeding for their freedom. I just wish I was there to help.”

Maria Pawluk said, "Why is it happening? It's happening because Ukrainians want to be independent from Russia. They have learned the taste of being free since Ukraine became free in 1991 so they want that freedom. They want to be part of the union, the European Union. Not part of Russia.”

Helena Lisoea, born in Ukraine, said, “It is absolutely out of mind that someone can kill peaceful people. They are not armed. They have no weapons; all they have are helmets on their head. They are wounded by police who are guarding the people and these police are fighting these people.”

President Obama condemned the violence in the Ukraine. He said the U.S. will be watching to see how the government there deals with peaceful protests and he said there will be consequences if people step over the line.

Lisoea says her son is in Ukraine. She is learning through Facebook what her family and friends need and supporting them emotionally and financially. She says during a time like this, she is very thankful for today’s technology.

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