Local Ukraine native prepares for return to war-torn region - WNEM TV 5

Local Ukraine native prepares for return to war-torn region

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Concerns continue to grow over a possible civil war in Ukraine. The tension between pro-Russian and Ukrainian forces turned violent again just this past weekend.

The violence is especially hard to watch for Ukrainian natives here in Mid-Michigan who still have family in the country.

Lena Denisko was born in Crimea and still has close ties to the region. She has family, friends even property there.

While, she's well aware of the violence and instability in the Ukraine, she will travel to the region this week, despite the risks.

Denisko and her mother want to make sure they get to keep what's theirs.

"Our former president, who escaped from the Ukraine wanted to pass a law that people who don't have a permanent residence in Crimea do not have a right to own property there. That law did not make it through and that's something that was coming from Russia," says Denisko.

Russian troops have entered Crimea. There have been protests, deadly violence and tensions continue to rise. Denisko has heard frightening stories and fears for her and her family's safety.

While Denisko says she and many believe the chaos is being fueled by the presence of Russian forces, she knows of some who believe Russian leaders can help the struggling region.

"People have suffered for a long time from corrupt government and there was no money. So, when somebody comes in and says hey, I'm going to do this and that for you. They are going to go for it," said Denisko.

Denisko fears Russia's involvement will only lead her homeland down a destructive path.

"We remember the former Soviet Union, the good times. My generation, my mom's generation as well.We remember the good times. What people don't realize is that, Putin is the next Stalin. This is not Gorbachev. Putin has no limits of what he's going to do," continues Denisko.

Denisko tells TV5, she's heard stories about militants mistreating people in Crimea. She was even advised to get a Russian visa for the trip, instead of using her American passport, hoping that will help ensure her safety.

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