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Ukrainians in Utah react to revolution back home

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SALT LAKE CITY — Thursday was the bloodiest day so far in Kiev, Ukraine, as dozens of people were killed and hundreds more wounded during anti-government protests.

The violent clashes continue in the capital city that has now turned into a battleground where snipers fire on masses of protestors.

Thursday, the European Union agreed on sanctions to freezing Ukrainian government assets and banning export of equipment used to repress citizens.

The protests began last November when Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych rejected a trade and economic agreement with the European Union and turned to Russia for financial aid instead.

Roman Avramenko moved from Utah back to his home in Ukraine two years ago. He and his wife, Anya, are doing what they can to help, including feeding the protestors.

“Our government people, they drive those Mercedes and everything, and there are some people who are on pensions and they are not even able to buy their essentials,” Avramenko said.

Thursday, the Avramenko’s volunteered at the hospital where hundreds of injured are being treated. However, the injured are also being treated wherever there is room.

Avramenko said there’s a big church in the center of Kiev where people are “working on other people who are about to die, and they’re bleeding, and it’s horrible. It’s very surreal.”

Avramenko says the government has confiscated businesses and is allowing former criminals to roam the streets and they are shooting people who are resisting.

“People are fed up. We can’t live like this anymore,” he said.

Ukrainians in Utah are anxious being so far from their homeland when a revolution taking place.

Dimitriy Kolodyazhny, a Ukrainian living in Utah, described a photograph he has seen from home.

“(A man) was holding the Ukrainian flag, and he was ready to die with the flag,” Kolodyazhny said.

Kolodyazhny and Vasiliy Osipenko, who also lives in Utah, were sent pictures from friends and family in Ukraine who live outside Kiev. Some photos showed protestors forming human chains to prevent trains carrying government troops from getting to Kiev.

Another showed a grieving father, holding his dead son's helmet in a room full of bodies.

“The country is totally corrupted on every single level," Osipenko said. "It’s about freeing the country from a dictatorship."

All three men believe that the violence could end in a matter of days and President Viktor Yanukovych will be forced to step down.

“I have no doubt that the people will win at the end," Kolodyazhny said. "I mean, I don’t know at what cost."


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Carole Mikita


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