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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs