NEW YORK (CBS New York) – New York’s Ukrainian community is closely monitoring all developments as reports mount that a Russian invasion of Ukraine is imminent.
Anna Shestopalova, from the East Village, has a heart full of pride for her Ukrainian homeland and a troubled and worried mind about the tensions there.
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“I have my mother there, my sister and my cousins, so for now it’s fine, but we are worried because we don’t know what will happen tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, even today” , she told Dave Carlin of CBS2.
Born and raised in Ivano-Frankivsk, she came to the United States in 1996.
“Amazing, amazing, beautiful city. I miss this place. I hope that this year, this summer, I can go back,” Shestopalova said.
She works at the East Village Ukrainian restaurant where Ron Kavral is the manager.
“In the East Village, you know, it’s a big Ukrainian population,” he said. “So it’s a bit nerve-wracking.”
Bishop Paul Chomnycky of the Ukrainian Catholic Diocese was in Ukraine last summer. He says he prays every day for peace in the region.
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“They are defending their homeland against the aggressor, and of course even we as Americans would do the same,” he said.
As other countries take steps to support Ukraine in this conflict, many in this community want the United States to play even more of a leadership role.
“We have an obligation, you know, to protect the sovereignty of a nation that’s really under attack,” the father said. Peter Shyshka of Saint George Ukrainian Catholic Church. “If we are tasteless, then the rest of the allies will see it and then it will become a sign of weakness…I don’t want troops…because I think that will only make the situation worse…Help, yes, and military material , yeah, that, I’m all for that.
“They will fight until the end. Until the end,” Shestopalova said.
Dania Lawro made a sign that she plans to hold high at a rally called ‘Stop Putin Now’ outside the United Nations on Thursday.
“Ukraine just wants to live in a peaceful democratic society without any incursion from Russia and that is what we hope. And so we hope the world will wake up, and we hope that sanctions will be imposed on Putin because that’s the only way to stop him,” she said.
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The aim of Thursday’s rally is to draw more attention to the plight of Ukrainians as this nervous community waits.