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Exchange student worries about family in Crimea

By Rana Novini, Anchor/Reporter, r.novini@krdo.com
Published On: Mar 04 2014 11:22:46 PM CST

As tension grows in Crimea, a mostly pro-Russian region in southeastern Ukraine, an exchange student in Colorado Springs watches and worries from thousands of miles away.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

As tension grows in Crimea, a mostly pro-Russian region in southeastern Ukraine, an exchange student in Colorado Springs watches and worries from thousands of miles away.

Diana Cheburna works at Euro Market and Deli, a store that sells many eastern European food products.  It's a taste of home for Cheburna.

"First time I came to this shop it was like, 'Wow,' Cheburna told KRDO NewsChannel 13.  "I saw a lot of stuff that I used to buy in my country because I really missed it."

In Washington, President Barack Obama said Tuesday that there is room for Ukraine to be a friend of the West and Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin says Russia has no intention to "fight the Ukrainian people" -- but he's reserving the right to use force in order to protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine.
    
Crimea is historically divided -- some side with Russia, others with Ukraine.  Cheburna said it's even split in her family. Her dad is Ukrainian and her mother is Russian. She grew up with influences on both sides.  When asked what the biggest misconception is of the conflict in Crimea, she said that  everyday life isn't as interrupted as it may appear to be.

"Right now in Sevastopol, it's not so dangerous like sometimes they show on TV," she said.

She hopes that peace continues and her family stays safe.

"Ukraine is a really beautiful country," Cheburna said.  "We have really beautiful nature and a rich history.  I guess everything will be fine but right now it's a really difficult time."

The United States and 14 other nations are forming a military observer mission to monitor the tense situation in Crimea.  A U.S. official says the team plans to leave within 24 hours.

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