Crisis in Ukraine: Local Ukrainian-Americans React

By Evan Kruegel, Local 5 News

Published 03/03 2014 08:16PM

Updated 03/03 2014 10:52PM

Olga Halaburda has taken to Facebook, reaching out to dozens of friends across Ukraine.

        "It's very stressful," she says. "It's very tense right now."

The first generation Ukrainian-American says what she's being told by those friends, is alarming.

        "In addition to the real threat of war, physical war, there is a propaganda war that's happening right now," she says. "We're all fighting it on the internet. Trying to get the truth out."

Her friend Oksana Kobzar, a native Ukranian, agrees. She says friends and family in Ukraine believe President Vladimir Putin is paying Russian men to pose as violent Ukrainian demonstrators, hoping to justify his invasion.

        "It doesn't matter what strategy he is using," says Kobzar. "He is trying to build his empire back."

Halaburda likens the situation to what Hitler did to Czechoslovakia in 1939.

        "Hitler claimed that he did it because he has to protect the German speaking population there, and that is what Putin's propaganda is right now," says Halaburda. "That he has to protect the ethnic Russians in that region, when we know from reports from ethnic Russians themselves no one's bothering them!"

Both women say locally, people have been asking how they can help. Their answer: spread the truth.

        "It's a very delicate situation," says Halaburda. "The world really needs to take seriously."

        "Share the truth," says Kobzar. "And pray for all people in Ukraine."

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