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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -
A pro-Russian militia seized key infrastructureand Moscow has authorized military intervention in the Crimean conflict. Kievbegan mobilizing defensive troops, and the world's political leaders have begunto talkconsequences.
A Huntsville businessman is experiencing theturmoil in Ukraine personally. Eric Sizemore is in the middle of it, and spoketo us from one of Ukraine's hot spots.
Via Skype, Sizemore said his nerves aredefinitely fraying as more Russian troops and threats pour into Ukraine.Sizemore is in Odessa on business and said the tension has been building. Thecity has been the scene of intense demonstrations demanding Russian forces stayout of Ukraine, but also some calling for the Russians to move in.
"I'm seeing a lot about the ultimatum thatPutin, that the Russians have made about surrendering Crimea. Even though theRussians are saying that they didn't, a lot of reporters on the island aresaying [they] hear it on the boat, off of loudspeakers," he said.
As unrest has rattled the country, Sizemoresaid Ukranians have ended up confronting each other: one the one side, thosewith Ukranian backgrounds. On the other, those with Russian backgrounds, andsome who wish for a return of the Soviet Union.
"A lot of Ukranians are saying ‘Why isn'tAmerica coming in? Why isn't the EU coming in; Do you think that they will?'"said Sizemore. "And I hate to look at them and say, ‘No. I don't think thatthey will.'"
Sizemore said some Ukranians have evendeveloped a fatalistic attitude, expecting to be taken over by the Russians. Hesaid he's high-tailing it for Moldova. "I just bought tickets a few minutesago. I'm getting out," he said.
"I don't want to live in Russia. I don't wantto get stuck here. I don't want to be a part of this mass exodus, in the eventthat something happens," he said.
Sizemore said he might return to Ukraine butthe situation looks too unstable for that now. He said Russia has too muchleverage over Europe with such assets as gas lines for the EU to take muchserious action. While he doesn't think actually invading Ukraine would be inRussia's interest, it is hard to determine what Vladimir Putin will do.