Local Couple Returns from Ukraine

By: Shannon Smith
By: Shannon Smith

ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Ukraine appears to be headed toward a possible breakup after lawmakers in Crimea unanimously declare they want to join Russia. The decision will be placed in the hands of voters in 10 days. It’s a vote President Obama says will not only violate Ukraine’s constitution, but an international law. We’ll hear from a local couple who just returned from the chaos.

Diplomats are at the table trying to diffuse the situation. Lawmakers there have scheduled a vote on whether to separate from Ukraine. The president just signed off on Visa restrictions and financial sanctions against those undermining Ukraine’s new government.

The White House is demanding that Russia end its occupation of Crimea.

The Ukraine crisis is so bad, a Rockford couple just returned from the troubled country after living there for two years, claiming they feared for their safety.

“They kept announcing, don’t go beyond the barricades they’re shooting people, people are dying.”

Leah Clapp says she and her husband Joey had no other choice but to leave Ukraine, a place they called home for two years.

“We left so quickly that one day we were living our life which is totally different in Kiev, the next day we were here.”

The couple says it was just too dangerous for them to continue studying Russian at the University of Linguistics , located in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, the same place where tens of thousands of people were protesting and dozens killed by government snipers in the last few days.

“We didn’t go out of our apartment from Tuesday to the next Sunday because it was dangerous for foreigners to be out on the streets.”

“It was heartbreaking to know that these wonderful people that just wanted a better future for their country are being attacked by their own government.”

Joey says witnessing the Ukraine crisis was a life-changing experience.

“This isn’t just an unimportant country.”

“These are real people.”

“It really makes you thankful for what we have here in America and even in Rockford. You know, a lot of people complain about our government and complain about the city and all these different things, but we really do have it great.”

The couple says they will continue their language lessons via Skype. They plan to move to New York by 2015 to start a church ministry for Russian speaking people.


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