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Crosscurrents

Ukraine crisis has local impact

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Nick Bilogorskiy and MaydanSF on the steps of San Francisco City Hall.

It’s been three months since violent clashes erupted in Ukraine’s capital city, Kiev. At the heart of the conflict is the Ukrainian government’s decision to abandon their EU Association Agreement. A move seen by some Ukrainian nationalists as a move to strengthen the country’s ties with former ruling power, Russia. 

Last month, the Republic of Crimea, an autonomous part of Ukraine, was annexed by Russia, after a referendum. This inspired violence between Ukrainian nationalists and Russian supporters. With tens of thousands of Russian troops currently posted at Ukraine’s eastern border, Ukrainians fear that Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to annex more of the neighboring former Soviet state.

The movement that sprung from Ukrainian resistance of Russia is called "Maydan", meaning ‘square’, representing the central square of Kiev where Ukrainians protested before and after the overthrow of former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. 

The Maydan movement has a presence in the Bay Area as well. Over the past few months, local Ukrainians have protested at the Russian consulate here in San Francisco, and have petitioned State Senator Diane Feinstein for sanctions on Yanukovych. Nick Bilogorskiy is a Silicon Valley computer programmer who heads up MaydanSF, a Ukrainian pro-democratic protest group based in San Francisco. Bilogorskiy, stopped by KALW to share his thoughts.

Click the player above to listen to the full interview.

NICK BILOGORSKIY: My father is Russian, so I can relate to that. I don’t want Vladimir Putin to the destroy the balance that connect our people.

Hana Baba is host of Crosscurrents, KALW's weeknight newsmagazine that broadcasts on KALW Public Radio in the San Francisco Bay Area.