Local Ukraine woman talks about Crimea conflict

Local Ukraine woman talks about Crimea conflict

NEW BERN, CRAVEN - The tensions in Ukraine are heavy on the minds of many around the world, including a woman here in Eastern Carolina who grew up in the country.

Mariya Thomas of New Bern spent the majority of her life in Crimea before moving to America 12 years ago. Thomas currently works with the education system, teaching math to those who live in the Craven County area.

While living in Crimea, Thomas lived in the city of Sevastovol. She left behind many of her family members, including her mother. That is why she is concerned with what many are calling an international crisis. 

US officials say Russian troops have occupied a portion of Crimea, coming in conflict with Ukrainian troops. International leaders, including representatives from the United States, have growing concerns about the activity happening in Ukraine.

In addition to the Russian military presence in Crimea, leaders from Crimea have announced they will be holding a referendum to separate from Ukraine and join Russia. President Obama says if Crimea does this, it will violate the Ukraine Constitution and international law.

In a press conference on Thursday, President Obama said the international community is very concerned and is trying to step in to lessen the ongoing conflict. One of the tactics being suggested, is for Ukraine and Russia to engage in conversations with the help and monitoring of the international community.

Thomas says she just wants everything to end peacefully.

"I just hope that their wont be war, you know, that somehow that people can peacefully can come to some type of logical conclusion or compromise," said Thomas. "I'm concerned about how it's going to impact everybody, like the average person, including my mother and brother and his family."

Thomas' family members who live in Crimea are aware of what's going on their area, but haven't directly been impacted.

"I've received so many phone calls from friends, asking questions: Is my mother okay? My brother and his family?" said Thoams. "So far I know that they are okay and that life goes on, but how is it going to be in the future?"

The answer to that question is still being explored, as international leaders try to diffuse the crisis.

Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama have had continuous talks with Russian leaders in the hopes of reaching a resolution. Those talks are still ongoing.

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