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Tatars seek safety in Western Ukraine

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 01:25

March 26 - Crimean Tatars, frightened by Russian annexation of their homeland, flee to Western Ukraine in search of safety. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.

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They are fleeing Crimea and seeking safety in Western Ukraine. While Crimea's Tatars are considering their own referendum on whether to be part of Ukraine or Russia, some Tatars, deeply suspicious of Russian rule, are taking no chances. Memories run deep for Tatars whose ancestors faced mass deportation by Soviet authorities in 1944. (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) CRIMEAN TATAR, RUSLAN MINAKOV, SAYING: "It is not safe to stay in Crimea at the moment. Why? Everybody have their own reasons. For Crimean Tatars it is their 'genetic memory' and lack of any trust for what Kremlin is saying. You yourself see that the agreements are not honored and whatever has been promised verbally cannot be trusted. So the majority of the Crimean Tatars feel very scared right now." Along with the fear comes the welcome. A teacher says Crimean children can find safety and comfort in Ukraine. (SOUNDBITE) (Ukrainian) DAY CARE CENTER DIRECTOR, BOGDANA ZUBRITSKAYA, SAYING: "You know, when Crimeans came to me we all were very happy to take their children to our kindergarten. We understand that at least the children here are fed. They have a chance to play and to meet our kids." Moscow formally annexed Crimea following a referendum where voters overwhelmingly voted to join Russia.

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Tatars seek safety in Western Ukraine

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 01:25