Local Ukrainians Concerned About Protests In Home Country
DENVER (CBS4)– There are local prayers for the victims in the chaos in Ukraine. Demonstrators are protesting– angry at the elected government for siding with Russia instead of the European Union in a trade agreement.
The Transformation Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Church, where the priest and many parishioners are from Ukraine, is planning a prayer service on Thursday to remember the escalating violence in which 100 people were killed in the Ukraine in one day.
Ihor Figlus lived in Ukraine and is concerned for his cousins who still live there.
“They’ve been there since day one, since the end of November, since the protest started. They keep posting on Facebook, thank God nothing happened to them,” said Figlus.
Figlus lived in Ukraine for 15 years. He said people there want to live in a corrupt free society which is why the conflict began.
“People have just had enough. They don’t want their freedom to go away. They don’t want to have to live in poverty to have all their money taken away from them. They want to grow, they want to develop,” said Figlus.
Some protesters are armed with weapons, others are fighting back with rocks and Molotov cocktails. Anti-government demonstrators say President Victor Yanukovych is corrupt and in the pocket of Russia’s leader.
University of Denver professor Jonathan Adelman said Russia’s influence is strong in that part of the world.
“Vladimir Putin, having spent $50 million in Sochi basking in the warmth of the press and at the very same moment he is supporting the forces that have shot these people,” said Adelman.
Figlus has children who are living in Ukraine said change needs to happen.
“The cry is, throw the bandits out,” said Figlus. “The whole corrupt government has to go. There is no other way.”
The prayer vigil will begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Transformation Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic Church located at 4118 Shoshone Street in Denver.