Valley Ukrainian watches violent protests closely

FRESNO, Calif.

We found one Fresno family glued to their tablets and TVs, watching the deadly protests unfold in their former home.

Explosions and huge walls of fire lit up Kiev's Independence Square. Deadly violence in the area is what Vladimir Ostatnigrosh watches on his tablet in northeast Fresno.

"All my free time, when I'm not working, yes I'm watching the situation," Ostatnigrosh said.

Ostatnigrosh moved to the Valley from Ukraine in 1999 and eventually opened his own business, the Fresno Fencing Academy.

His wife's family lives about 200 miles from the chaos in Kiev, but he says what happens there will have a huge impact on daily life for the 45 million people living in Ukraine.

Masked protestors used bricks to fight back against lines of police forces. Protestors were beaten, some were killed and the same happened to police.

The violence was sparked by a citizen push for the government to align itself with Europe, but Ukraine's president is choosing to side with Russia and its allies.

"I don't know how to describe that feeling, but it's very sad," he said. "I hope it will be better for people in Ukraine, but how long does it take? I don't know."

Ostatnigrosh says Ukrainians just want a better life. But as they fight for it there's likely to be more violence. The Ukraine government ordered people to leave the square; clearly protestors ignored the instruction.

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