Ukrainian Americans worry about safety of family and friends – NBC Connecticut

Ukrainian-Americans fear family and friends will be hurt or worse as tensions with Russia rise.

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 their 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, from South Windsor.

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

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

Before the vigil, the children participated in their weekly program to learn more about Ukraine and its culture. Now the children have many questions as the crisis overseas deepens.

“We have to keep explaining to them what is happening and especially when the troops are moving in their question is there going to be an all-out war? We cannot say yes. We can’t say no. We really don’t know how far it will go,” said Iryna Drobockyi from Hebron.

Him, of course, being Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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

“I think the United States, as well as the European community, must strengthen their sanctions. I don’t think that’s enough,” Maksymiuk said.

There are so many concerns and questions about the future of a country that so many people here in Connecticut cherish.

“I hope for the safety of my family up there. I hope Putin comes to his senses,” Vysknovsky said.

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