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SoCal Ukrainians divided over future of home country




Mary Billey, a Ukrainian immigrant, said Russian President Putin mistepped by sending troops into the southern peninsula of Crimea.
Mary Billey, a Ukrainian immigrant, said Russian President Putin mistepped by sending troops into the southern peninsula of Crimea.
Josie Huang/KPCC
Mary Billey, a Ukrainian immigrant, said Russian President Putin mistepped by sending troops into the southern peninsula of Crimea.
Tatiana Samarskaya-Vozniouk (far right) considers herself to be Russian-Ukranian.
Josie Huang/KPCC


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In the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Los Angeles, Mary Billey sang Catholic hymns with dozens of other immigrants in their native Ukrainian tongue.

The start of Lent was just days away, but worry over relatives in Ukraine had followed her to the place where she seeks solace.

"I am scared and angry, I’m all of that," said Billey, a 79-year-old grandmother who emigrated to the US as a young girl. "You get emotional because you don’t forget where you were born."

Ukrainian immigrants in southern California have nervously watched as political protests in Kiev that began in November resulted in the ouster of Ukraine's president more than a week ago.  Russian president Vladimir Putin added spark to the situation on Saturday, ordering troops into the pro-Russian Crimean Peninsula to protect Russian interests in the region.

KPCC's Josie Huang has the story