Ukrainian Americans Living in Connecticut Worried for Ukraine's Future

Mar 3, 2014

A Crimean self-defense group in Simferopol, Ukraine, on March 2.
Credit Elizabeth Arrott/Voice of America / Creative Commons

As Russian troops tighten their control on Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, Ukrainians living in Connecticut are anxious about the future of their home country.

According to the 2008 census, there are over 22,000 residents of Ukraine heritage living in Connecticut. Alexander Kuzma, a Ukrainian American living in Glastonbury, said all of the Connecticut Ukrainians he has spoken to are livid over Russia's invasion into Crimea and concerned about what a Russian takeover of Ukraine would mean for family members who still live there.

"Nobody's under any illusions as to what living under Putin's Russia would mean to Ukrainians," Kuzma said. "The brutality that we've seen in his attacks on demonstrations -- attacks on pro-democracy activists -- has been something that people respond to with great alarm."

Over the weekend, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, who chairs the Foreign Relations Sub-Committee on Europe, spoke to Ukrainians in New Haven about Russia's military presence in Crimea. He told the crowd that while U.S. military intervention in the Ukraine is unlikely, economic sanctions would have a huge impact on Russian president Vladamir Putin's ultimate plans for Ukraine.

But Murphy warned that the sanctions need to come from European countries who have much larger trade deals with Russia than the U.S.