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Ukrainians In Pittsburgh Worried About Tensions With Russia

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - With U.S. leaders warning of Russia invading Ukraine this week, local Ukrainians are worried for friends and family still over there.

As tensions rise in Eastern Europe, concerns also grow in Pittsburgh.

"The sad thing is old men start these wars and young men die fighting them," said Father Timothy Tomson, the priest of St. Mary Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Mckees Rocks and vice president of the Ukrainian Community of Western Pennsylvania.

Tomson and his wife both have friends and family in Ukraine.

"It's evil. It's evil manifesting itself," he said over FaceTime.

Tomson said he believes all this tension is nothing more than a power grab by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"He wants to revive the Russian empire, the Soviet empire. That's why he's doing this," Tomson said.

He said the move would also allow Russia to capitalize on natural resources in Ukraine, some of which include natural gas.

Tomson and his congregation are praying for cooler heads to prevail and ultimately, peace. They know this could end, instead, in bloodshed. He said people in Ukraine are prepared for war with many enlisting in the military.

"Life is a precious gift from God," Tomson said. "Yes, you have to live your country, and you have to defend your country and you have to stand up to a bully."

However, when it comes to the role the United States should play in all of this, Tomson said he does not think American troops should be sent overseas to help in the fight. He said he feels the U.S. should supply weapons, but not get involved beyond that. He feels Ukraine can hold its own.

"There is no greater fighter than somebody defending their home. If someone is breaking into your home, you're going to do whatever you have to do to defend your family, your loved ones," he told KDKA.

He added the two countries have had a complicated relationship for much of history and unfortunately this is just the latest chapter.

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