Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has released a statement on the situation in Ukraine, indicating support for keeping the country in Eastern Europe a free and independent nation.
“In this moment of crisis, Connecticut stands with the people of Ukraine,” Malloy said.
“The Ukrainian people have spoken loudly and clearly: Ukraine must remain an independent nation, a transparent democracy and a part of Europe,” the governor said.
Malloy said many people of Ukrainian descent “have made Connecticut their home over the last century, and from them we have come to appreciate the long struggle of Ukraine to free itself from foreign subjugation.”
Russia now controls part of Ukraine
Ukraine is in the news because in the past few days, Russia has taken control of a small southern part of the country on the Black Sea known as Crimea.
That is leading to a potential confrontation between East and West reminiscent of the Cold War — with Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Barack Obama squaring off. Major European countries also are upset with the Russian action in Crimea.
No one is certain what will happen next with the fluid situation.
Pro-Russian leader in Ukraine ousted
The Russian military move in Crimea, where many ethnic Russians live and where Russia has a long-standing naval port, followed the recent overthrow of Ukraine’s pro-Russian president after massive street protests.
Ukraine was one of the republics in the former Soviet Union, which also included Russia.
Nowadays, Russia is a big exporter of energy — providing large amounts of natural gas to Ukraine and parts of Europe.
Many Ukrainians in CT
Connecticut has a sizable Ukrainian population, including in the Valley and northeastern part of the state.
According to Ameredia.com, an ethnic marketing website, there are about 23,500 Ukrainian-Americans living in Connecticut — of about 893,000 total in the United States.
New York, Pennsylvania and North Dakota have considerable Ukrainian populations.
There are both Ukrainian Catholic and Orthodox churches in many major Connecticut cities, including St. Peter and St. Paul Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in Ansonia, Protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church in Bridgeport, and Holy Trinity Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Bridgeport.
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who sits on the Foreign Service Committee, has been outspoken on the situation in Ukraine. Murphy chairs the Senate’s Europe subcommittee.