New York Ukrainian community worried for friends, family overseas
Tensions are mounting in the east after the U.S. ordered heavy sanctions against Russia for moving troops into Ukraine.
A former Ukranian military official now living in Yonkers said the situation gives him a mix of emotions. He says he’s worried for his country but knows the people are ready to defend themselves if it comes to that.
Pavlo Lavrovych served 10 years as a special forces officer in the Ukrainian military, including fighting on the front lines in 2014 at the beginning of the Russo-Ukrainian crisis.
“I would go there and protect my country again if it needed,” said Lavrovych.
Earlier Tuesday, the U.S. ordered financial sanctions against Russian banks and leaders after accusing Russia of flagrantly violating international law.
President Joe Biden promised even more sanctions going forward if Russia doesn’t pull back its troops.
These are all steps Lavrovych says are necessary to protect his homeland but would like to see even more done.
He still has friends and family overseas constantly updating him on the situation.
"They're telling me that they're scared a little bit [and] they worry but they're prepared to fight back if it's necessary,” said Lavrovych.
New York has also been stepping up its cybercrime defense because of concerns that fighting between Russia and Ukraine could lead to cyberattacks.
Gov. Kathy Hochul is launching a statewide joint security operations center to prevent such attempts.
"We're rethinking our entire approach to cybersecurity. Based on the model that was put together after 9/11,” said Gov. Hochul.
Gov. Hochul is proposing to use $62 million in state funds to bolster those efforts.