By Jan Carabeo
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — As the world mourns the loss of 298 people, and as world leaders call for a full investigation of the Malaysia Airlines plane crash, Ukrainian Americans in the Philadelphia region are are left stunned about what’s happening in their homeland.
“Shock and mourning and anger over the events yesterday in eastern Ukraine,” Mary Kalyna said.
“I call it international terrorism,” Iryna Mazur added.
“I have very good friends over there,” Bohdan Pechenyak said.
Pechenyak moved to America 16 years ago but is still in close contact with family and friends in Ukraine. He says some of his friends are in the military, fighting pro-Russian separatists. Other, he says, are afriad of the rebel forces that have taken hold of parts of eastern Ukraine.
“They’re afraid that they will get killed if they show that they don’t support them,” he said.
Daniel Friedheim, a Drexel Assistant Teaching Professor of History and Politics, says what happened with the passenger jet is a wake up call that will have a global impact.
“This could be the biggest shock to the international political system I think since perhaps 9/11,” Friedheim said. “It means it’s going to change the way all European countries conduct their politics, their trade.”
Friedheim says the U.S. and E.U. could increase sanctions, which is something many Ukrainians CBS 3 spoke to want as well.
A group of them are holding a vigil on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at the Ukrainian flag on Friday evening at 7 p.m. to remember those lost during the plane crash.
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