Ukrainian expats in North Texas reflect on conflict with Russia

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by JOBIN PANICKER

Bio | Email | Follow: @jobinpnews

WFAA

Posted on March 6, 2014 at 5:42 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 6 at 8:24 PM

DALLAS –– Col. Viktor Dragan remembers enlisting in the Soviet Army when he was 17-years-old. He says there were few options at the time for young men like himself. Today, he lives in Plano with his wife and sees and hears all that is happening in his home country of Ukraine.

“I don’t take sides, neither one or the other, because the fight itself is horrible,” said Dragan.

Through a translator, Dragan says he’s disappointed at the escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine. There is more military unrest in the disputed area of Crimea. 

“It’s very painful to watch that basically brother want to go against brother,” said Katya Evseev, who is from Crimea. 

Katya came from Russia for the Sochi Olympics and arrived on Tuesday night. But she could not get into her hometown. While critics have called this conflict a land-grab by Putin, Katya disagrees.

“It is majority Pro-Russian, so Putin’s people are asking for help. The people of Crimea asked for help and the Russian government responded,” said Evseev.

Dragan is one of many World War II veterans expected in Garland on Thursday afternoon. The Dallas Telegraph, a community newspaper in North Texas for Russians and Ukrainians, reached out to 50 World Wwar II veterans who reside in Dallas for screening of a Stalingrad war film.

Dragan has seen the images from back home and says things were peaceful when he left his hometown of Kiev in Ukraine. 

“This is my land, this is my country. I’m almost 90 years old and I’m worried. I’m upset,” said Dragan.

Talks have stalled, but people like Katya and Dragan are at least pleased they’re doing more talking than fighting.

Email jpanicker@wfaa.com

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