‘I'm Scared': Ukrainian-Americans Worried about Safety of Family, Friends

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Ukrainian-Americans are worried their family and friends might get hurt or even worse as tensions with Russia increase.

We’re told there are some 20,000 Ukrainian-Americans here in the state, one of the largest communities in the country.

Raising their voices and sending thoughts and prayers to loved ones in Ukraine, dozens of Ukrainian-Americans gathered for a vigil in Hartford on Tuesday.

“I’m scared. My family, like my aunt, my cousins. I have a cousin there my age,” said Sofiya Vyshnovsky, of South Windsor.

This tight-knit community is on edge as they fear exactly what Russia might do.

“It’s a very dangerous situation,” said Stephan Maksmiuk, the Ukrainian-American Youth Association treasurer.

Before the vigil, children took part in their weekly program to learn about Ukraine and its culture. Now the kids have a lot of questions as the crisis abroad deepens.

“We need to keep explaining to them what’s happening and especially when the troops are moving in their question is there going to be a full-blown war? We cannot say yes. We cannot say no. We truly don’t know how far he is going to go,” said Iryna Drobockyi, of Hebron.

He, of course, being Russian President Vladimir Putin.

While the United States and other countries leveled sanctions against Russia on Tuesday, some here believe more needs to be done.

“I think the US, as well as the European community, needs to ratchet up their sanctions. I don’t think it’s enough,” said Maksymiuk.

There are so many concerns and questions about the future of a country so many here in Connecticut hold dear.

“I am hoping for my family’s safety up there. I’m hoping Putin comes to his senses,” said Vysknovsky.

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