Monroe County

Ukrainian community celebrates culture in Rochester

Rochester, New York — Friday night tradition at the Ukrainian Cultural Center in Webster is enjoying a fish fry and pierogis.
As Ukraine prepares for possible conflict with Russia, the conversation this week was a bit heavier than usual.
Rochester is home to a large population of Ukrainian-Americans.
“The problem is if Russia invades it will set back the economy, any advances they have made in the last three years just to recover from the invasion,” said Eugene Sydor, whose parents were born in Ukraine. “I would like to see the Russians stay in their borders if Russians could learn to work with Ukrainians and not fear them because they have more freedoms and liberties than the Russians do themselves.”
“I feel Putin ought to just back off. Ukraine wants to be independent, free, they don’t need a babysitter, just leave them alone,” said Bohdan Cholach, also the son of Ukrainians.
Taras Yayko immigrated to the U.S. from Ukraine as a teenager and has been speaking to his relatives overseas about the conflict.
“This situation has been going on since 2014 at least so people are living under that stress already for 8 years, I wouldn’t say they don’t care, but they care a lot less than putting food on the table for their family,” he said. “We learn to live with it because it has been like this since basically, Putin became president, so over 20 years now.”
The country is prepared for the worst, he said.
“Everybody is prepared obviously. People who have served before, are ready so if they get called they are ready to go,” Yayko said.
 

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