Russia-Ukraine Crisis

Ukrainian Americans in Conn. Have Loved Ones ‘Determined to Stay and Fight'

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The quickly unfolding events between Ukraine and Russia are being closely followed by the thousands of Ukrainian Americans in Connecticut.

“I'm terrified with everything that I'm hearing,” said Natalie Pollock, of Hartford.

Some 20,000 Ukrainian Americans living in Connecticut are on edge.

Many are fearful of what might unfold in Ukraine and for the safety of their loved ones there.

“They're concerned. They know what (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is capable of,” said Alex Kuzma, of Wethersfield.

Kuzma helped lead a Stand with Ukraine rally at the state Capitol on Sunday. He sees the crisis as a battle between David and Goliath.

Dozens of people with loved ones in Ukraine and their supporters gathered for a rally outside the State Capitol in Hartford on Sunday.

“I think that most people seem to be determined to stay and fight,” said Kuzma.

Folks here are monitoring the fast-moving events.

A limited Russian potential invasion into separatist regions in Eastern Ukraine would prompt a measured international response, according to Quinnipiac University political science professor Wes Renfro.

“I think that the United States and NATO have signaled just about as clearly as possible that they're not interested in getting into any sort of shooting war with Russians and that their response will be either financial or diplomatic,” said Renfro.

The professor adds that for a powerful state to seize territory would undermine world security and the order we’ve lived under for the past 75 years since World War II.

Ukrainian Americans in Connecticut are hoping for unity to stand up to Russia.

“My parents had to escape Ukraine to come to this country because they have been working in the underground to try to create an independent Ukraine. And I'm just so happy that they're not alive today to see what's happening,” said Natalie Pollock.

Members of the state’s congressional delegation have stood in solidarity with Ukraine.

Senator Richard Blumenthal has called for increasing weapons being sent to Ukraine and escalating sanctions against Russia.

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