Residents in local Ukrainian community concerned about crisis overseas

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MISHAWAKA, IND. --- Some Michiana residents at a local Ukrainian church are worried about the Ukraine-Russia crisis impacting family and friends abroad.

A parishioner at the St. Michael Ukrainian Catholic Church told ABC57 she’s among several in their tight knit community that are not only concerned for their family and friends in the Ukraine right now but also disappointed about the actions overseas.

“As Ukrainians we all feel offended and concerned, but I don’t think surprised, no one is surprised,” said Joan Downs-Krostenko, a long-time Parishioner at St. Michael Ukrainian Catholic Church in Mishawaka.

Downs-Krostenko has been a member of the church for the last 25 years and said their congregation is made up of a diverse group of people including recent Ukrainian immigrants worried about their families back home.

“We are familiar with people who are in Ukraine who are concerned. Most of the people associated with this church come from the western part of Ukraine and so they are in less immediate danger for a whole variety of reasons, but they are all connected of course to the greater conflict and have friends in relations who are more likely in harm's way in the short term,” said Downs-Krostenko.

Downs-Krostenko also said not only is Michiana’s tight-knit Ukrainian community concerned about the larger impact of the crisis, but they’re also disappointed about the conflict overall.

“They all share I think a feeling that most people who are paying attention to the situation share which is that this is an unnecessary action,” she added. “On a personal level, I’m most concerned about the destruction of human life certainly already since 2014 several thousand Ukrainian soldiers have lost their lives but I’m also concerned about the loss of physical property, there is such beautiful historic architecture and there is such important infrastructure for their economy.”

Downs-Krostenko also said they plan on joining forces with other local Ukrainian organizations including the University of Notre Dame’s club to put together a relief event to support those in the Ukraine right now. They have not hashed out details just yet but in the meantime, she said the church does meet every Sunday at 10 am and they will be supporting each other through this difficult time.


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