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North Texas Ukrainian Community Watching Fighting Helplessly

THE COLONY (CBSDFW.COM) - Despite a recent truce in fighting the unrest in Ukraine is on the mind of those in the North Texas' Ukrainian community. At a church service Wednesday night people prayed for friends and family living in the middle of the chaos.

It was supposed to be a non-violent protest, but the images of ruins caused by fire and fear in Kiev are making their way around the globe.

Nearly 6,000 miles away from Kiev in the small North Texas town of The Colony, the pain is being felt at St. Sophia Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church.

Father Pavlo Popov told CBS 11 News, "I have my family there. My mother is there [and] my brother is there. When we watch the videos it's impossible not to cry."

So far, more than two dozen people have been reported killed in the uprising between Ukrainian protestors and government forces. At the center of the fighting is a debate over joining the European Union. Large numbers of people in Ukraine seem to be in favor of the move, however Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych disagrees and instead is aligning himself and the country with Russia.

Now emotions on both sides have turned deadly.

Father Popov can barely believe the situation in Ukraine. "Fire, bullets flying, blood, violence… it's just unreal."

Mounting international pressure has been credited for the current truce in fighting. However, Father Popov believes the only way to stop violence from reoccurring is put the country's top leaders on trial.

"I think they will be found guilty against crimes against their own people," he said.

Father Popov is a world away from home says he feels helpless that he can't do more for his family and country.

Now, more than ever, the church leader is relying on prayers. "We pray for peace, for peace and safety for those people."

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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