Ukranians in US cautiously watch situation in home country - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Ukranians in US cautiously watch situation in home country

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US officials sent a warning to Russia regarding Ukraine – don't conduct a military intervention. (Source: MGN Online) US officials sent a warning to Russia regarding Ukraine – don't conduct a military intervention. (Source: MGN Online)
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MADISON COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -

US officials sent a warning to Russiaregarding Ukraine – don't conduct a military intervention.

This comes after Russia's president orderedsurprise military drills near the Ukranian border. Secretary of State JohnKerry called the move a "gravemistake." Kerry said the US is planning to provide Ukraine with $1 billionin loan guarantees and consider additional direct assistance. Wednesday,Ukranian protest leaders have named a former banker to head a new government.

Residents with ties to Ukraine are keeping aclose eye on the situation, including two people in the Tennessee Valley whostill have relatives in the country.

"Ukraine is at a crossroads," said NicholasPawluk. He looks at the upheaval in his native Ukraine with anxiety, but alsohope that the overthrow of President Viktor Yanukovich will be a new start.

As Tennessee Valley Ukranians prepare tocelebrate their Maslenitsa Festival in Madison this weekend, some like SergiyBraylyan, who lived in Kiev himself, wonder about friends and relatives backhome.

"We knew that there were some friends andclose people to us in the midst of it," said Braylyan. "It was really violent.The last count was more than 80 people dead."

Pawluk and Braylyan said this could be thecountry's chance to finally shake off decades of corruption and onetimeCommunist oppression, although the specter of the old Soviet Union looms yetagain as Russia flexes its military muscles just to the east.

"Especially after 22 years of stagnationregarding the political reforms, the patriotic forces of Ukraine, very hopefulthat this will be the new beginning for the country," said Braylyan.

"Russia took a chunk, two chunks, off ofGeorgia and that's what scares me," said Pawluk, "that they could try to dothat to the Crimean Peninsula or to Eastern Ukraine. I hope the West isvigilant enough to put pressure on them to stay out of it."

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