Mar 1, 2014 12:22 AM by Nathan O'Neal

Russia accused of 'armed invasion' of Ukraine, Tucsonans watch closely

TUCSON - Some locals are paying close attention to the conflict occurring in Ukraine over recent days.

Sergii Gorbachov and Anna Vozna are both students at the University of Arizona and are from the eastern part of Ukraine.

Russia is accused of an "armed invasion" in Ukraine as troops arrived by plane and helicopter.

Russian officials claim the move is for security purposes. However, Ukraine's acting president has urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to pull back military forces from the peninsula.

President Barack Obama spoke strongly about the military movements today.

"We are now deeply concerned by reports of military movements taken by the Russian Federation inside of Ukraine," Obama said, adding later: "Any violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity would be deeply de-stabilizing."

Sergii has been in contact with his family and friends in Ukraine practically every day. He said that the turmoil that unfolded in Ukraine earlier forced his family to remain indoors.

"They were just afraid to go outside because they could be beaten or imprisoned just for nothing and that's why they were staying at home," Sergii said.

Ukraine is divided by political allegiance and despite working to establish new leadership, the Russian government continues to recognize its former president Victor Yanukovych.

Anna just wants the rest of the world to recognize her home country's new leadership.

"They say that he is a legitimate president but where has he been when people were killed?" Anna said.

In the eastern Ukrainian city of Crimea, protesters want to break off and join Russia. Meanwhile, more than 150,000 Russian troops, tanks, aircraft and ships have lined up at the border. Ukrainian government officials describe it as a "military invasion."

As for Sergii and Anna, they hope new leadership in Ukraine can help the country start to re-build as they work toward a peaceful resolution.

"No one wants to fight with the Russians... Not just because they are a powerful country but because they are close to Ukrainians," Sergii said.


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