PEPPER PIKE, Ohio - Local Ukrainian-Americans are expressing fear that the crash of Malaysian Airlines flight 17 Thursday will only escalate tensions between Ukraine and Russia.
“The escalation that is happening right now, very possibly next week, it might be even worse,” said Dr. Vladimir Pastouk, a former Ukraine citizen who is a dentist in Pepper Pike.
Pastouk returned from Ukraine two weeks ago and visits there three times a year. He and other local Ukrainian-Americans suspect Russia is behind the plane crash.
“It was quite honestly shocking for a few seconds, never think about something like that happening,” added Pastouk.
U.S. officials said a missile downed the plane, but there’s no word yet on who is responsible. The Boeing 777 went down in the eastern part of Ukraine where Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian rebels have been fighting for months. The violence has claimed the lives of more than 400 people.
“Everybody, the whole Ukrainian community was outrageous today,” said Andriy Voyetskiy, a Parma resident and former Ukraine citizen.
Voyetskiy, a pilot, and other Ukranian-Americans came together to pray for the victims of flight 17.
“I hope for the international community that this will be a wake-up call,” added Voyetskiy. “Enough is enough. Enough civilians have died.”