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Effects of Crimea Vote Felt in Californian Ukrainian Community

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Local Ukrainian Americans and Russian Americans reacted to the Crimean election results, where the majority of Crimean voters were in favor of having their autonomous state be a part of the Russian Federation.

READ: Russia Condemns ‘Lawlessness’, Recognizes Referendum

“I was Skyping with my Aunt yesterday, and she told me that the people in Crimea are mostly Russian, and most of them want to become part of Russia, and not part of the Ukraine,” Edward Puzankov, whose aunt lives in Russia, said. “She told me the election was not a big deal.”

Others disagreed. Lubow Jowa of Roseville is a Ukrainian American. She sides with much of the global community, including the United States, who believes the referendum itself was illegal, considering Russia signed the 1994 Budapest Agreement, which designated Crimea to Ukraine.

“Russia invaded the country,” Jowa said. “They have armed men at poling stations, they have them on the streets, checking passports.”

VIDEO: California Ukrainians Stay in Constant Contact with Relatives Overseas

Anna Megediuk is a Russian American with Russian relative in Crimea. She hoped the situation simmers down as swiftly as possible, but believes the votes spoke for themselves.

“What I believe is, people from Crimea asked President Putin to come and protect them,” Megediuk said.

However, Jowa believed the referendum is a mere formality, and even if the results were opposite, Russians would still move forward with their “occupation.” She thought it was all a part of President Putin’s master plan to restore the legacy of the Soviet Union.

“He [Vladimir Putin] has stated that it is his duty to protect ethnic Russians, wherever they may be.” Jowa said. He started in Georgia, taking two provinces, then keep going in Eastern Ukraine, and then a part of Moldova, then there are the three Baltic republics, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, all of these places have a high Russian population.”

Both people agreed they would be praying for a quick end to the situation.

Following Sunday’s vote, President Barack Obama and other European leaders announced sanctions against Russia.

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