Ukrainian students watch history unfold from West Lafayette

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Several Ukrainian students at Purdue University decorated a construction helmet with traditional Ukrainian flowers.

As a student in Ukraine, Alex Misiads participated in protests nine years ago, but then he did not need a helmet.

“Two million people were in the street and no blood was shed,” Misiads said. “We were very pleased to say we were the only country to have a revolution without a single drop of blood. This has all changed within the last week.”

Last week anti-government protests escalated in Ukraine. It all started in November when President Viktor Yanucovych did not sign an agreement that would strengthen ties with the European Union.

Some saw this as a way Yanucovych was getting closer to Russia.

More than 100 protesters have been killed by military forces. Student Oleksandr Kravchenko said the protests are now about so much more.

“The main reason is the Ukrainians want to change the country and be responsible,” Kravchenko said. “It’s more to make politicians be responsible for their actions.”

This weekend Yanucovych disappeared. Now Ukrainian Parliament is trying to figure out what to do next.

Thousands of miles away from West Lafayette these students’ families and friends remain in Ukraine. Through different communication they described what has happened.

“[My friend] was telling me from a point of view of an eyewitness,” Misiads said. “He’s seen all those cruelties. He’s seen people get beaten to death, put into trucks, and taken away.”

Kravchenko and Misiads have tried to raise awareness of the conflict in West Lafayette. Kravchenko said some people do not totally understand.

“For me it’s weird to hear people say how it’s about Russia or Russian people in Ukraine,” Kravchenko said. “There is not a problem with Russian people in Ukraine. We are all one big country, and we should stay like this.”

Ukrainian Parliament set a Thursday deadline to form a new government.

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