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Fresno's Ukrainian Community Reacts to Deadly Clashes

Locals say they're turning to prayer to help get them through one of the most difficult times in their history.

As violence escalates in Ukraine,. the Valley's Ukrainian
Community is relying on prayer to make sure their family members are safe


Lemor Abrams has local reaction.


After the deadliest day this week, where dozens of
demonstrators were gunned down by riot forces... the government reached a deal
that could put a stop to the violence. But that's giving little comfort to
Kristina and Misha Skitsak...siblings who moved to Fresno from Ukraine for
better opportunities.


"I was terrified because I was just there
a month ago and everything was peaceful.... My heart started to break because
this was unexpected," said Kristina.


It all began as a peaceful protest several months ago. Ukraine
was about to get in on a trade deal with the European Union, but the Ukranian
President backed out in favor of closer ties with Russia.


"Now young people like me are dying there...leaving their
parents...some of them have toddlers...young wives," said Misha.


They say the clashes have brought a new generation of
protestors to the forefront a generation that grew up during and after the
collapse of the Soviet Union.


"A lot of Ukranian's had a lot of faith in the fact that we
will become independent...but things remained the same," said Misha.


Local experts on the topic believe Russia is bullying Ukraine
out of its independence. And protestors won't be appeased until the Ukranian
President is removed from office.


I just think it has such a long history of it not being it's own state that
it's going to be hard to chart a new course," said Fresno State History
Professor Michelle DenBaste.

For now, Kristina and Misha are relying on prayer, and waiting to see what
happens next.

"That's the only thing that we have right now," said Kristina.

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