UK and Ukraine Crisis

Reported by: Melanie Kendall
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Updated: 3/17 11:59 pm

The European Union and the US are imposing sanctions on several Russian officials over the crisis in the Ukraine.

Monday, EU officials agreed to enact travel bans and asset freezes on 21 people deemed to be responsible for the Ukraine’s problems.

EU officials hope the sanctions will send a strong message to Moscow while keeping the door open for diplomacy.

Sunday, Crimeans voted overwhelmingly to break off from Ukraine and join Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has since declared Crimea a sovereign and independent state.  That isn’t being recognized by the US and many European countries.  

The crisis in the Ukraine hits home for some people living in the Bluegrass.

Rodion Svynarenko and Ilya Okhotnikov are getting their PHD’s in family sciences at the University of Kentucky.  Svynarenko is from the Ukraine and Okhotnikov is from Russia.

The two have become friends but their countries are at odds.

“I think it's really scary now everybody's really scared because nobody knows what's going on, nobody knows what to expect,” said Svynarenko.

“The things you cannot control you have to go for a higher power, so a lot of them are praying in hope that god will make a change,” said Okhotnikov.

Both men agree, this is a battle of governments and the people are the ones who are caught in the middle. They hope to avoid war between the countries.

“I think people can change and we can expect unusual things,” said Svynarenko.

Okhotnikov and Svynarenko said more than half the people living in Crimea are Russian but both men are afraid if Crimea becomes part of Russia, President Vladimir Putin will try to make all of Ukraine, Russian.

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