Tri-State Ukrainians weigh in on conflict abroad

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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The situation in Crimea is being watched closely by Ukrainians around the world and here in the Tri-State. FOX19's Gordon Graham talked with one Cincinnati couple from Ukraine about how events are unfolding in their homeland.

Cincinnati has a rather small Ukrainian community compared to other cities like Cleveland and Chicago, but the Ukrainians that are here have a big interest in what's going on back home.

Yuliya Zamanky says she and her husband Alex watch news of the situation in Crimea with growing dismay.

"I'm deeply worried about the whole situation. It saddens me the events, the way they have unfolded in Ukraine. I think it's wrong what's happening there and it shouldn't be happening in an independent country," said Yuliya.

"We hear a lot now a days about the Russian speaking population feels threatened. That's why Russia wants to protect them. Apparently no one of my friends is threatened there. They feel happy. A lot of them are Russian speaking and they're not threatened," explained Yuliya, who says she uses social media to keep in contact with friends and family in the Ukraine and they tell her that Moscow's concerns about the safety of Ukrainians are baseless.

Yuliya's husband, Alex, was threatened because he's Jewish and that's the main reason his family left the Ukraine.

"The anti-Semitism is such a difficult issue. It's been there for years, I mean, I would say for centuries.  Jews get persecuted constantly and anytime there's a conflict of any kind it's the Jews that are at fault which I don't understand how that is," Alex said.

Alex says he also doesn't understand why the Russians want to take over Crimea.

"I mean I understand that there's a port, it's a strategic place, but what stops them from going after Ukraine to Moldova, to Belarus, to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania....nothing."

"Relatives don't know whether their economy and currency will be stable, what happens to their bank accounts, what happens to their houses," Alex said, expressing worry for his family back home.

Alex and his wife Yuliya say the vote on secession should have been put to all Ukrainians, not just those living in Crimea and the Zamansay's say Vladimir Putin should spend more time dealing with Russia's internal problems.

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