News / Europe

Ukraine's Second Largest City Shows Divided Views on Russia

Ukraine's Second Largest City Shows Divided Views on Russiai
X
March 11, 2014 12:51 AM
Russia's moves to take over Ukraine's Crimea have sparked fears that Russian-majority areas in the country's east could be next. VOA's Daniel Schearf visited Ukraine's second largest city, Kharkiv, near the Russian border and has this report.
Daniel Schearf
Russia's moves to take over Ukraine's Crimea have sparked fears that Russian-majority areas in the country's east could be next. 

Pro-Russia protesters faced off with riot police across from Kharkiv's regional government building. They say anti-Russian Ukrainian nationalists are taking over and they support Moscow's occupation of Crimea, but insist they are not separatists.

The demonstrators, who say they are all Ukrainian citizens, also want the European Union and United States to mind their own business, says protestor Igor Gusov.

"We'll settle it ourselves. We don't want war," he said. "We need peace. We want peace.  We want to live in a peaceful country.  And, all questions regarding Crimea, regarding everything, we'll settle this without you, without America. America, go home, leave!"

But just a day later, thousands of others rallied for Ukraine's unity -- voicing anger at Russian President Vladimir Putin's aggressive moves on Crimea.

The protesters welcomed U.S. and EU help to pressure Russia to back down.

"If he's been asked by political outcasts to bring in his troops, that doesn't mean it was our entire people's [wish]," said Natasha, an anti-Putin protrester.  "We Russians living in Ukraine, we don't want him here.  We are not against Russian people.  Russian people are good people.  But, we are against Putin.  Putin is a fascist.”

Despite their shared history and culture, separate schools are helping divide ethnic Russians and Ukrainians, says Kharkiv University history professor Sergey Kudelko.

"In this city, there has never been clashes on an ethnic basis. The only large city in Ukraine where there have never been clashes along ethnic lines in all its history," he said. "And, I believe that we will preserve, even now in this very uneasy conditions, this peace that is the most precious thing, human life, and harmony. So, the politicians should have enough wisdom to defuse this difficult situation."

In the meantime, Ukrainians are feeling the emotional brunt of Moscow's intervention.

"Putin has done the most terrible thing.  He has already sewn discord between our two peoples," said one woman at the Ukraine unity demonstration. "I am saying this on your camera that I hate Russia, I hate the Russian, and I am Russian.  That's what he's done."

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs