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Bay area Ukrainians react to violence in Kiev

12:56 AM, Feb 20, 2014   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida - With 26 people dead and hundreds more injured, Ukrainians and those of Ukrainian decent are keeping an eye on the violence that has consumed the capitol city.

"I'm shocked and all my family is shocked because Ukraine always used to be a peaceful country," said Illona Poddierogina.

The Ukrainian native moved to the Bay area last summer to attend the University of Tampa. Her father works near the area hit with violence between government forces and opposition protesters.

Also read: Ukraine protesters, government call truce

"It's actually difficult to image that is taking place where I started," she said.

In the recent plunge into violence, the opposition insists that Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych enact reforms limiting his power.

Yanukovych also backed out of a trade deal that would have aligned the country with the European Union. Instead, he took a loans from the Russian government that was seen as the country trying to influence Ukrainian government.

At the Ukrainian Catholic Church of Saint Petersburg, the worry is what will happen if the opposition isn't successful.

"Under the community regime and our church, all our churches being persecuted," said Father John Stevensky of the Ukrainian Catholic Church.

Members of the church have also gathered supplies to send to opposition protesters in the country.

"We're concerned that Ukraine is drifting back towards that communist regime," said church member John Czerkas.

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