Local Ukrainian community reacts to plane crash

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– News 8 spoke with Ukrainian Americans to see how they are dealing with the latest devastating news in their home country.

Christine Melnyk’s heart will always be in Ukraine though she calls America home.

“My parents came here after the war so I grew up with the whole history of Ukraine being persecuted constantly,” said Melnyk.

She stays current with the news there, and was pained when tensions escalated earlier this year, as the country struggled to change leadership. Thursday’s news of a Boeing 777 plane being shot down in Eastern Ukraine, with almost 300 people on board is adding to her concern.

“I think this is more for the whole world to worry about,” said Melnyk. “I think people in Eastern Ukraine are so used to being in a war torn area.”

Melynyk has been glued to facebook, keeping up with other Ukrainians and news of plane crash and listening to the many theories swirling about what happened.

“This is one of the voices we believe to be militia commander Igor Strelkov, who then put a triumphant war cry on Twitter saying “‘we warned you do not fly in our sky,’” said Melnyk.

She doesn’t think the Ukrainian government is strong enough to have anything to do with the plane crash, but says she be on her computer until she knows who did. St. Michaels Ukrainian Church in New Haven is often where the Ukrainian community gather when there is a tragedy back home. It is where News 8 found Luba Kopylec. She said she’ll pray for those on the plane and in Ukraine.

“My heart is [a] broken heart, “ said Kopylec. “I don’t believe it. Today is very sad day. It doesn’t matter who your country. Today people pray.”

There are many questions that still to be answered. But the pain the plane crash is causing is clearly being felt across continents.

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