Anxious time for Ukrainian community in Bradford

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Thoughts: Orysia Chymera, chairman of Bradford Ukranian Club Thoughts: Orysia Chymera, chairman of Bradford Ukranian Club

Members of Bradford’s Ukrainian community are continuing an anxious wait for more information in light of rapidly-changing events in their home country.

Although optimistic about the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych, they are cautious about progress and fear Russian intervention.

Foreign Secretary William Hague spoke to his Russian counterpart yesterday and warned it would not be in Russian President Vladamir Putin’s interest to intervene militarily.

“It is very tense in the Ukraine,”said Martyn Chymera, of Bradford Ukrainian Club. “We are concerned that Putin might get involved, particularly now the Winter Olympics has finished. Everyone is very angry and emotional about the situation in our country, but we feel more positive now that a corrupt regime has gone and there is an opportunity to rebuild.”

Bradford Ukrainian Club has been a home for Ukrainians in the city for decades and provides a community for many whose grandparents came to the UK after the Second World War.

The club incorporates the Ukrainian Youth Association and Organisation of Ukrainian Women and all those within it remain passionate and patriotic about their country and its history.

Despite being thousands of miles away, support pledged in the UK has been felt in troubled Ukraine.

“Friends we have in our country have got in touch to say how much it helps to see people standing up for the cause they are fighting,” Mr Chymera said.

“We will continue to raise awareness of all the important issues.”

Speaking ahead of his meeting yesterday, William Hague said there was a “moment of opportunity” in Ukraine after MPs voted to oust President Yanukovych and hold fresh elections in May, but acknowledged there were “still many dangers” for the country.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian community members in Bradford have mourned lives lost to the violence in Kiev.

The Bradford Ukrainian Club was part of a group which gathered in Leeds at the weekend to highlight the events occurring in Ukraine and oppose the violence in the capital city.

Mr Chymera, who is chairman of the Bradford branch of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, said: “We remember and honour the heroes that have given their lives in the fight for democracy and basic human rights in Ukraine.”

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