YONKERS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – As the violence continues to rage in Kiev, Ukrainians living in the Tri-State Area are keeping a close eye on the unrest.
Walter Kozicky was born in Ukraine and calls the deaths of dozens of protesters shameful.
As WCBS 880’s Paul Murnane reported, a map of Ukraine hangs in Kozicky’s Yonkers office, showing a nation caught linguistically, culturally and politically between Russia and the west.
Kozicky calls President Viktor Yanukovych Russian President Vladimir Putin’s puppet. Kozicky said he fears another chapter in a long, familiar story looms.
“Whenever Russian boot steps in once, they wouldn’t give up. It’s theirs,” he told Murnane. “It’s Mr. Putin who’s the one who has orchestrated the whole problem.”
WEB EXTRA: More On Ukrainian Violence From CBS News
Kozicky also said he’s hoping for a stronger reaction from the White House as talks are under way to try to reach a deal and end the violence.
“I’m hopeful. Hopeful but skeptical,” he told Murnane.
About 10,000 Ukrainians live in Westchester County, according to the Journal News.
Protesters plan to rally at the Ukrainian and Russian consulates on Sunday.
Meantime, Ukraine’s opposition leaders have signed a deal with the president and European mediators for early elections and a new government in hopes of ending a deadly political crisis.
It could be a major breakthrough in a months-long crisis over Ukraine’s future and identity that worsened sharply this week and left scores dead. A key question is whether the thousands of protesters camped out in Kiev will heed it.
Two opposition spokeswomen said the deal was signed in the Ukrainian president’s office Friday, but had no details.
The signing came hours after Yanukovych announced early presidential elections and promised to bring opposition members into the government. He did not give a time frame.
Also Friday, it was announced that the Ukrainian parliament voted to allow the release of jailed opposition figure Yulia Tymoshenko.
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