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NYers With Ties to Ukraine Worried About Their Families

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Ukrainians with ties to the city have been closely watching the rapidly changing events in their homeland. NY1's Arlene Borenstein filed the following report.

A makeshift memorial on Second Avenue was a peaceful yet somber show of support for the people of Ukraine as the Russian government sends troops into the country.

"My initial thought was, it's very unfortunate, and it's just starting, unfortunately, with the invasion of Crimea and Putin's request to have the troops invade," said one person.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's request to send them into the strategically important Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea is making Ukrainians in the city nervous.

At Veselka Restaurant, just down the street from the memorial, many of the staff are from Ukraine and are worried about their family.

One worker said that his mind is on his mother.

"She told me, 'Thanks of God that you are here in the United States,' that I'm here," he said. "Three months ago, she told me, 'Why do you leave us?' and now, she said, 'Thanks of God you leave us.'"

The chef said that he fears for his 25-year-old daughter's safety. She walks to work each day.

"I call her two, three times a day, and tell her, 'Baby, call me, send me mail or something.'"

Most of their time outside of work is spent closely watching the news and how the United States is reacting.

Not all are convinced that enough is being done, despite the phone call that President Barack Obama made to Putin asking him not to send in troops.

"There was no rush from his side, but still, I like that he's supporting," said one person.

Further uptown across from the United Nations building, dozens of protesters traded candles for signs. They put pressure on Russia to reel back its troops, and they hope that the United States does the same.

"The only country who can stop it right now is United States," said one protester. "Of course, I do understand United States cannot go in war in Russia, but same happened before World War II. Everybody was silent."

Demonstrations in the city will continue on Sunday at 2 p.m., when a group will go to Bryant Park and march in honor of their friends and family in the country.

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