Ukrainians in Carnegie concerned about their homeland
While the world watches the Ukraine with renewed interest after the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, Ukrainian-Americans who attend St. Peter and St. Paul Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Carnegie have never stopped watching.
“They are all scared,” said Natalia Onufrey, 51, at a church social hour following Sunday services on July 27. “We are terrified. The people are terrified.”
The church, founded in 1903, has about 150 members. Some are newer immigrants from the Ukraine.
Onufrey's mother and twin brother still live in the Ukraine, and she said they remain worried and on edge.
“They don't know what is going to happen next,” she said.
The country has been embroiled in conflict and political crisis since late last year, compounded by the Russian military siege of Crimea, an autonomous republic within the Ukraine.
In June, pro-Russian Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to secede and join Russia, a move condemned by Western powers and the Ukraine but welcomed by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
The situation worsened on July 17 when the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 was shot down near the villege of Grabove in an area of unrest in eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian officials have since blamed pro-Russian forces while Putin and pro-Russian rebels have pointed the finger at the Ukraine.
“The (Ukrainian) people are just heartbroken,” Onufrey said. “I am stunned and shocked, but not surprised.”
She blamed Putin, saying his government is pulling the strings of the pro-Russian rebels in the Ukraine.
Tetyana Lysak, 42, returned from visiting family in June, and she said sentiments toward Russians have soured across the country.
“A hatred has been created by the conflict – people hate Russia now,” Lysak said through translation by Onufrey. “It's unbelievable, especially how young people have changed opinion.”
She said that prior to the conflict, Ukrainians lived in general harmony with Russia, but because of the conflict “hatred begets hatred.”
“I don't know if (Russians) can change that opinion back,” she said.
Onufrey said they are unsure what to expect next for their home country, but much frustration stems from what they consider inaction by Europe and the United States.
“If after Crimea, the other countries had stood up to Putin, (MH17) wouldn't have happened,” she said. “This was a consequence of inaction. I'm just sorry so many innocent people had to die for it.”
Megan Guza is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5810 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add Megan Guza to your Google+ circles.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Scott students embrace spirit of Thanksgiving with donation
- Carnegie native gets Disney wedding
- Oyler: Pretzel placement, Penguins programs raise columnist’s ire
- Carnegie, businesses team up for holiday celebration
- Carnegie-Collier Rotary organizes purchase of surgical gowns
- Bridgeville-area churches take part in prayer shawl ministry
- Bridgeville outreach center seeking new quarters
- Longtime Heidelberg manager leaving post, council begins search
- Carnegie boy gets to be mayor for a day