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'It's been heartbreaking for all these years': Ukrainian living in CO reflects on crisis

Viktoria Neville came to Colorado Springs from Ukraine 17 years ago
Tensions between Ukraine and Russia have been brewing for roughly eight years.
Posted at 12:19 AM, Jan 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-31 07:53:01-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — Every morning for roughly eight years, Viktoria Neville has woken up in America and thought of her family back in Ukraine.

"It's been heartbreaking for all these years, day by day," said Neville, reflecting on the ongoing crisis between Ukraine and Russia.

As Russia deploys roughly 130,000 troops to Ukraine's borders, the tension in Eastern Europe continues making headlines.

Neville's sister still lives in Ukraine. Her brother-in-law was drafted to Ukraine's army three years ago, and her sister and nieces have volunteered at military hospitals.

Neville came to Colorado Springs 17 years ago, and says she reached out to news outlets when the conflict first started.

"I did what I could, like ringing the bell - Please help! But unfortunately for that moment, that wasn't enough."

David Arceneaux (Ph.D.), a Political Science Professor at UCCS, says that the tensions stems from Ukraine's desire to join NATO.

"Russia views the loss of Ukraine to the west as threatening in two ways: One is it undermines Russia's influence in the region (and) as NATO comes farther East, Russia gets a little more concerned."

Neville says she has noticed a shift in Ukraine every time she goes back to visit, and says there is a new wave of patriotism.

"We are an independent country. We are a country who wants to grow, who wants to prosper. Who doesn't need Russian advice, or lecture - How to live, or what to do."

The Pentagon placed 8,500 United States troops on "heightened alert" to assist NATO allies.

"We're in a world where massive levels of uncertainty exist, neither side trusts one another, and both sides are acting in what they view as their own self interest, and unfortunately that looks like preparing for conflict at the moment," said Arceneaux.

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