Local ties to Ukraine hope for peaceful end

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Volunteering at the Good Neighbor House in Dayton, the day can be hard for a Ukrainian student to take his mind off problems back home.

“For the last couple of months, I was always on nerves of what is going to happen,” said Maksym Gerasimov, a Sinclair Community College student. “Who is going to get who? Why is this happening?”

For three years, Gerasimov has studied in the United States. He most recently is goes to school as an architecture major at Sinclair Community College.

After a visit home during winter break to see family, he saw the beginning of what was to come for Ukraine.

“Most of the younger kids want to join the European Union and have the whole Europe open,” said Gerasimov. “But the older generations wants to stay within the circumstances they have lived through their entire lives.”

It is not just a problem Ukrainians in the Miami Valley are watching closely.

Those with close ties to Eastern European countries are also paying attention.

“We can’t play with Russian government,” said Islom Shakhbandarov, President of the Ahiska Turkish American Community Center. “It’s going to bring a worse situation than now.”

Shakhbandarov said about 400 families that gather at the Ahiska Turkish American Community Center in Dayton are feeling a heavy heart for what is happening in Ukraine. Many of their relatives and friends live in the Crimea region, currently at the center of dispute.

During the weekend, boxes full of clothing filled a stairwell. It was all gathered for those living in Crimea.

Without support from the rest of the world, Shakhbandarov believes Ukraine’s situation will only get worse.

“They are basically saying that it’s time to get Crimea back to Russia and those that don’t like to be part of Russia need to leave their own homes,” said Shakhbandarov.

The Ahiska Turkish American Community Center plans to openly condemn the actions in Ukraine during a ceremony on Sunday. Organizers will also take time to honor families who were deported from much of that part of the world during Soviet control.

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