Penn Staters with Ties to Ukraine React to Violence

By Mallory Lane

Published 02/24 2014 06:08PM

Updated 02/24 2014 06:30PM

PENN STATE, UNIVERSITY PARK - After a tumultuous few days in Ukraine, some Penn Staters with ties to the country are speaking out.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Viktor Yanukovych. He was ousted as president Saturday, after days of deadly protests. Now, the world is watching for what happens next.

Russia has recalled its ambassador from Ukraine. In the United States, National Security Adviser Susan Rice is warning Moscow not to interfere.

Ukraine's interim leader says there will be a new push for European integration.

Members of the Penn State community with family and friends in Ukraine are worried about what's next for their country.

"I'm worrying about him, about my mom, about my in-laws," Larysa Bobrova, a Penn State graduate student, said.

Bobrova says being at Penn State while her husband and family are back in Ukraine is difficult, but she's glad people are standing up.

"I was glad that people rebelled against the violation of their rights and human rights," she said. "I was also scared because there was a lot of violence going on there."

Nearly 100 people are dead and a warrant is issued fro the arrest of President Yanukovych. He's accused of mass murder of protesters who stood up for months against his rule.

"It was a highly corrupt government that had gone far beyond the edge," Penn State Professor, Michael Naydan, said. "It's something that became very personal for me."

Naydan has close friends in Ukraine, too.

"I get emotional about it because I watched many of them, young children in their 20s, women, children, with bullets through their brains, bullets through their hearts by professional sharp shooters," he said.

It's the bloodies violence in Ukraine's post-Soviet history. The turmoil has turned the country of 46 million upside down, raising fears it could split apart with loyalties torn between Europe and Russia.

"The battle is for justice, for having a right to have a government without corruption and wanting people who work for the people, not for themselves," Naydan said.

Bobrova hopes an ending is in sight.

"I pray for our current government and people to be, to act effectively when the country needs a lot of economic help and a lot of wise decisions," she said.

The White House said late Monday the whereabouts of President Yanukovych have not been confirmed and said he is not, quote, "actively leading the country."

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