News / USA

Anxious Ukrainian-Americans Worry About Homeland

Evidence of grief for the deaths in Ukraine's recent turmoil in Manhattan's East Village neighborhood, where many Ukrainian-Americans live, March 3, 2014. (Adam Phillips/VOA)
Evidence of grief for the deaths in Ukraine's recent turmoil in Manhattan's East Village neighborhood, where many Ukrainian-Americans live, March 3, 2014. (Adam Phillips/VOA)
Adam Phillips
At Veselka, a diner in New York City's East Village favored by Ukrainian expatriates, Pavlo Kaidan admits that his anxiety over the fate of his homeland 7,000 kilometers away is hard to bear.   
 
“I am calling over there sometimes two times, sometimes three times a day just to ask how everything is and to what is going to be," he said.  "Because every day my mom says ‘okay maybe tomorrow they [are] going to cut down the Internet; they’re going to shut down the phone service.’ You don’t know what’s going to happen. We are worrying about this.”
 
Vitalii Desiatmychenko, who just returned from a visit to his native Kyiv, works at Veselka, an East Village diner popular with both Ukrainian expatriates and hipsters, New York, March 3, 2014. (Adam Phillips/VOA)Vitalii Desiatmychenko, who just returned from a visit to his native Kyiv, works at Veselka, an East Village diner popular with both Ukrainian expatriates and hipsters, New York, March 3, 2014. (Adam Phillips/VOA)
x
Vitalii Desiatmychenko, who just returned from a visit to his native Kyiv, works at Veselka, an East Village diner popular with both Ukrainian expatriates and hipsters, New York, March 3, 2014. (Adam Phillips/VOA)
Vitalii Desiatmychenko, who just returned from a visit to his native Kyiv, works at Veselka, an East Village diner popular with both Ukrainian expatriates and hipsters, New York, March 3, 2014. (Adam Phillips/VOA)
Vitalii Desiatmychenko, who returned from Kyiv, Ukraine's capital last week, says recent events confuse him.
 
“The situation is a little strange because Russian army got into Ukraine pretending to protect Russian people in Crimea, in the eastern part of Ukraine," he said. "But as far as I know, a lot of Russian speaking people, they still support the idea of Ukrainian people joining the European Union; they don’t want to join Russia.”
 
Tamara Olexy, president of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, an umbrella group that represents the million or so Americans of Ukrainian descent, says there are several actions American leaders should take.
 
Tamara Olexy in her New York office at the Ukrainian Congress of America, an umbrella group that represents the estimated one million or so Americans of Ukrainian descent that live in in the U.S. (Adam Phillips/VOA)Tamara Olexy in her New York office at the Ukrainian Congress of America, an umbrella group that represents the estimated one million or so Americans of Ukrainian descent that live in in the U.S. (Adam Phillips/VOA)
x
Tamara Olexy in her New York office at the Ukrainian Congress of America, an umbrella group that represents the estimated one million or so Americans of Ukrainian descent that live in in the U.S. (Adam Phillips/VOA)
Tamara Olexy in her New York office at the Ukrainian Congress of America, an umbrella group that represents the estimated one million or so Americans of Ukrainian descent that live in in the U.S. (Adam Phillips/VOA)
“First and foremost, they have to be vocal in their protests against what Russia is doing," she said. "Second, they have an opportunity with the upcoming G8 [Summit] being held in Sochi, first to boycott Sochi.  Secondly, in my opinion, they should get rid of Russia in the G8, and it should become the G7 again because it [Russia] has broken every international norm a democratic country should have.”

In Olexy's view, sanctions are another strategy.
 
"Visa restrictions and freezing the assets of the Russian elite that has actually ordered the invasion in Ukraine,” she said.
 
Hanya Krill Pyziur of New York’s Ukrainian Museum thinks that even the toughest sanctions will not work as long as Russian President Vladimir Putin is in power.  

In her view, Putin ultimately wants Ukraine to come under Moscow's control, as it was during the Soviet era. She says he wants to ensure his historical legacy by securing Russia’s place as the leader of a Eurasian union, equal with the West.

“And because you have this desire to really control Ukraine and make it part of this union 'no matter what,' and then you have the Ukrainians in Ukraine who want their independence 'no matter what,' you have two ideas that are never going to converge; I think they are non-negotiable and I think it could very well lead to war,” she said.
 
In Ukraine, tensions continue to escalate.  On Tuesday, in what many perceived as a veiled threat, President Putin said Russia would resort to force “only as a final resort.”  Meanwhile New York’s Ukrainian-American community continues to watch and wait.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Reaper-Six from: United States
March 06, 2014 1:10 AM
If they love ukraine so much why don't they all move back there. As a proud American, I want all foreigners, out of my country!!!!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs