Charlotte woman worried about family, friends in Ukraine - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Charlotte woman worried about family, friends in Ukraine

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

There have been reports that the Russian military is warning Ukrainian troops defending their territory to surrender or face an assault, but some Russian officials say that's not true.

This crisis may seem a world away, but we found people right here in Charlotte with strong family connections to Ukraine.

"It's frightening to me. It is," said Kathi Matiaszek, who lives in Charlotte.

Kathi Matiaszek has deep ties to Ukraine. When she was a little girl, she idolized her father, a native Ukrainian and listened to war stories from his home country. Reports that Russia may invade Ukraine have her glued to the television.

"Those are my people there. My father fought for his country. It's a big sense of pride for me to be Ukrainian," she said.

For weeks, Matiaszek says she's paid close attention to the unrest in Kiev, where her brother lives, and the possible invasion of Crimea. She says Russia should stay out, a sentiment echoed by President Barack Obama.

"Russia is on the wrong side of history on this," he said.

Matiaszek says she's been to the country a handful of times over the past five years, meeting family, friends, and learning more about the culture. She says it's a culture that may be in jeopardy as long as Russia threatens.

"Ukrainians are very proud, peaceful people who just want a government in place that is fair, democratic," she said.

Copyright 2014 WBTV. All rights reserved.

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