HARTFORD, Conn — The continued Russian buildup of troops on the border of Ukraine can only be described as a powder keg situation that could blow at any moment.
Native Ukrainians here in Connecticut are speaking out about their homeland.
“All of them are willing to fight for their freedom,” said Natasha Sazonova of Wethersfield. “They don’t plan to leave. They are ready to fight. They are not going to give up,” added Nataliya Kyrichenko of Cromwell.
Natasha and Nataliya both grew up in Ukraine before immigrating to the United States and settling in Connecticut. Their homeland is now on the brink of war. Grandmothers are wielding weapons.
“They are taking weekend courses about how to defend themselves. How to defend their houses. Everybody is buying guns or rifles,” remarked Sazonova.
Natasha and Nataliya both shared with FOX61 pictures of happier times in Ukraine. Trips they took with family and friends before they had to worry if they’d have a country to return home to.
“For the past week I’ve barely slept and I watch the news every single moment because we are really worried,” said Kyrichenko.
Russia continues to deny an invasion as baseless. President Biden has already warned Putin he’d face severe economic sanctions. But Biden has also said the United States would not go to war to defend Ukraine. They are not NATO allies.
“If Russia wants to invade or seize the country it won’t be too much of a contest,” explained Wes Renfro, a professor of political science at Quinnipiac University.
He told FOX61 we are already feeling the impacts of a potential conflict. The stock market has taken a plunge and gas prices are sky high but Renfro said it shouldn’t last long.
“Of course, there could be some short-term volatility. But the idea that that could turn into persistent volatility is I think a little far-fetched,” said Renfro.
Steven Bibisi is from Cromwell but he’s also a missionary for Rabbonis Love, a religious non-profit that conducts missionary outreach in Ukraine. He has helped to feed and build homes for orphans and widows. He said it’s important that the United States assert itself.
“They would need our help. I think it’s important that we stand and support them. That we support them in prayer and with our finances,” said Bibisi.
When it comes to standing with Ukraine, you’ll have the opportunity to do that this Sunday. The Ukrainian American community is planning a rally at noon outside the state Capitol in Hartford.
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