Ukraine crisis hits close to home for Lowcountry man

Ukraine crisis hits close to home for Lowcountry man
Published: Mar. 6, 2014 at 11:52 PM EST
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WEST ASHLEY SC (WCSC) - Josif Tsveer is right at home.

Now a West Ashley staple, his shoe repair business, Peter and Sons, celebrated it's 34th year on Tuesday.

"There's no other country in the world I would rather be."

His life now is a far cry from what he experienced over 30 years ago.  Tsveer came to the United States from Ukraine in 1978, in search of religious freedom.

"I could never celebrate my heritage," he said.

"When we were growing up, you respect the law and you respect the government."

Today, the Lowcountry resident can only stand by and watch, as the crisis in his home country continues to unfold.

Last month, Ukrainian protestors ousted the country's pro-Russian president.  The battle for power continues, as Russian military forces claim control of the nearby Crimean Peninsula.

"You've got to keep in mind Ukraine is a free country," Tsveer said. "It's not a part of Russia anymore."

"The right thing would be to have a free election, not taken over by knives and guns, and chosen by the people."

Thursday, President Obama issued individual sanctions as punishment to those he said violated the sovereignty of Ukraine.

"A lot of them in Ukraine are just scared. Just scared for their lives," Tsveer added.

"They're not sure what tomorrow looks like. That's the biggest problem."

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