(WXYZ) - The Detroit area has one of the largest populations of Ukrainian Americans but what is happening in the homeland is heartbreaking for many here.
Protestors in the Kiev, the capital city, have clashed with security forces loyal to the President of Ukraine. What had its beginnings as a dispute over trade policy has escalated into bloody and deadly confrontations in the street.
“Russia wants Ukraine to become a colony again, the Ukrainian people want to be free,” said Borys Potapenko, a leader of the Ukrainian community in metro Detroit.
“The Ukrainian people have rejected the regime that is in place right now in Kiev and is seeking to replace the President of Ukraine with a democratic leader,” Potapenko said.
Potapenko told Action News he last visited Ukraine in November. He has family and many friends there and he’s very concerned for their safety and the country he loves.
“My family is deeply involved in this whole movement for national freedom, for personal liberty,” he said. It’s really nothing more than wanting what we take for granted in this country. For some reason, a country of 45 million people, territory the size of France, in the epicenter of Europe, is being challenged in terms of European-style freedom.”