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Ukrainian University of New Haven professor believes war will be protracted

Olena Lennon, an adjunct professor, said Putin does not want Ukraine to submit to pro-western alliances.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — Connecticut's Ukrainian community says they have lost plenty of sleep but do not hope that somehow those subject to the Russian invasion will survive. That includes a University of New Haven professor, who is a native of Ukraine and whose close family remains there.

Olena Lennon, an adjunct professor, teaching political science and national security, was supposed to visit Ukraine last week, but thought better of it.

RELATED: How the Russia-Ukraine conflict could impact the US

"My immediate family that are in occupied territories are actually in some ways more safe than in the rest of Ukraine where are you know there's ongoing shelling, missile strikes," said Lennon.

She, like other Connecticut residents with strong ties to Ukraine, is devastated over Russian President Vladimir Putin's desire to remake the former Soviet Union.

"Putin can't seem to get it through his thick, imperialistic skull that Ukraine is a different country and that Ukrainian people voted by 92% of the population for independence," said Adam Kuzma, of Hartford, whose parents grew up in Ukraine.

"I'm pessimistic about the U.S. being able to deter him (Putin) because it's not a new development and Putin has been obsessed with reversing Ukraine's pro-western integrations since at least 2014," Lennon said. 

Others feel Putin will ultimately succeed in gaining control of Ukraine, but one Connecticut Ukrainian says if that did happen, Ukraine will still likely gain its independence again someday.

"He (Putin) will pass Putin I don't believe that Russian society will, in the end, agree with what he was doing," said Myron Melnyk of New Haven.

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Lennon said it's unlikely U.S. troops would engage the Russian military unless Putin threatened NATO allies, like Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia directly.

"He's going to pay the price for this and the Ukrainian people will resist him and may not win the first battles in this war, but the Ukrainian people will survive this just as we survived the Mongolian invasions and the Nazis and the Soviets," Kuzma stated confidently.

RELATED: ‘This is a humanitarian and refugee crisis’ | Connecticut leaders react to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

They all hope the U.S. and its NATO allies will help with the evacuation of the massive number of Ukrainians attempting to flee. 

Tony Terzi is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at tterzi@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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