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Dispatches from Ukraine

Refugees from Crimea coming into Ukraine

  • Tetiana Ostapenko in Kiev.<br/>(Submitted Photo)

    Tetiana Ostapenko in Kiev.
    (Submitted Photo)

  • Members of the right wing ultra nationalist Right Sector group stand outside the parliament building in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, March 28, 2014. Activists demanded the resignation of the Interior Minister following the recent killing of a Right Sector member Oleksandr Muzychko, who was died during a police operation to detain him. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

    Members of the right wing ultra nationalist Right Sector group stand outside the parliament building in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, March 28, 2014. Activists demanded the resignation of the Interior Minister following the recent killing of a Right Sector member Oleksandr Muzychko, who was died during a police operation to detain him. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

  • Tetiana Ostapenko in Kiev.<br/>(Submitted Photo)
  • Members of the right wing ultra nationalist Right Sector group stand outside the parliament building in Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, March 28, 2014. Activists demanded the resignation of the Interior Minister following the recent killing of a Right Sector member Oleksandr Muzychko, who was died during a police operation to detain him. (AP Photo/Sergei Chuzavkov)

Editor’s Note: This is one of an occasional series of dispatches on the crisis in Ukraine as reported by Tetiana Ostapenko, a Ukrainian journalist with ties to Franklin County.

The first refugees from Crimea have appeared in our region.

A Tatar family consisting of 13 people — five adults and eight small children — settled in the village Bondurivka. They were invited by a local woman, Valentyna, and are living in her late parents’ house. Valentyna became acquainted with the Tatar woman some time ago when they both rested at a sanatorium in Nemyriv.

The family’s real house is on the Crimean peninsula in the suburb of Simferopol. They had a small farm, four cows and two horses. They had a peaceful life until Russian invaders dropped in. So-called self–defense detachments with arms began visiting them and threatening the family.

Fearful, the family left their home. Only the men stayed in Crimea.

Tatars survived a lot of hardships during Stalin’s deportation of them from Crimea to Siberia. And now they say: “Our home is in Ukraine. It was Ukraine who gave us refuge, not Russia. We returned to our native land. We are not going anywhere from Ukraine.”

People in the village Bondurivka helped the family, brought vegetables, eggs and milk for children. The village council even suggested them to take the parcel of land for planting vegetables. But they refused for a while.

Many Ukrainians are depressed.

We are disappointed in our government. As the government was busy making appointments, we lost part of our country. The authorities couldn’t make decisions and as a results the territory of Crimea is occupied by Russia. It doesn’t look like Putin will stop at Crimea. If he grabs Ukraine, he’ll go further. Some say he is ready to capture the territory of other countries.

People in Crimea talk about shameless Russian propaganda on television, twisting information. Many Crimean inhabitants really didn’t want to separate from Ukraine. So called paid “self defense” detachments declared they want to live in Russia. Our army could not do anything. It was impossible to shoot. Russian aggressors stormed Ukrainian military units putting in front of them children and women. It is unimaginable.

The residents of our district continue to donate humanitarian help to the army. They go on collecting food products and money, carry what they have. Even the schoolchildren conduct charities, sell their homemade goods, give their earned money to the army effort, and write letters to the soldiers to cheer them up. About 90 tons of products were sent to soldiers.

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