Bay area Ukrainians worry about crisis - WNCN: News, Weather

Bay area Ukrainians worry about crisis

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Ukranians in the Bay area share their concerns with Channel 8's Peter Bernard Ukranians in the Bay area share their concerns with Channel 8's Peter Bernard
PINELLAS COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Scenes of Russian troops on the ground in Ukraine have many people in the Tampa Bay area worried.

Many are exchanging phone calls, Facebook messages and emails.

Ruslana Panov and Ilona Sakovich are from diverse parts of the country. Ruslana is from the extreme west, near Poland and Ilona is from the small town of Odessa in the south, and much closer to Crimea.

Both share a desire to have this crisis solved peacefully.

"Russia has to stand aside and have their ... be where they're supposed to be, and Putin shouldn't tell Ukraine what they have to do and where they have to be," said Panov.

"It is very concerning to what it might become," said Sakovich.

Sakovich owns a Russian restaurant in St. Pete Beach, called St. Petersburg Nights. She says her relatives in Ukraine are able to get to work, but tensions heat up at night.

She worries what will happen if the Russian troops, now confined to the Crimean Peninsula, move to take more territory.

"I was shocked to the extent where this is going. I did not expect it to go that far. Originally thought maybe it's going to subside in a week or two," Sakovich said.

To think, the Olympics in Sochi just ended, with Russia playing host and pulling off successful games.

"I think they already had plan. I think that, they knew that,as soon as this is over, they move to something else," said Panov.

Both women believe the U.S. is doing the right thing, working with European nations to put pressure on Vladimir Putin through economic and political sanctions.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.


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