Ukraine native at Purdue speaks out on country’s crisis

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – A Purdue student from Ukraine said he was shocked when he found out Russian troops had entered Crimea. He said Russian troops need to leave the country and allow them to establish a new government.

Purdue student Oleksandr Kravchenko is from Melitopol, a city just north of the Crimean Peninsula. He said he gets updates at least three times a day from his family.

Vladimir Putin has said troops are there to protect Russian people from harm, but Kravchenko said it’s a weak argument and just an excuse to invade the country.

“In 20 years of our independence, there was no tension between different ethnic groups – between Russians or Ukranians,” said Kravchenko. “It doesn’t exist. It’s a made-up problem.”

He believes the Russian troops are hurting the country who is trying to establish a new government.

“We need to go a long way, but we made a first step,” Kravchenko said. “I think that Russia’s government is, in a lot of ways, threatened by this because this presents the alternative to everyone in the post-Soviet republics. There is a way you can make a change happen.”

Kravchenko said he is proud of his fellow Ukrainians for their fight and resolve. He said people are willing to fight, but would prefer a peaceful ending.

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