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    Posted March 8, 2014 by
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Ukraine unrest

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    Crimea Crisis Report – Two Friends Plead for Help


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     mediaman interviewed Smiley and Vlad, two Ukrainians who weighed in on the situation in their country on March 8. Smiley currently lives in Crimea and describes the tense situation there as Russian troops occupy parts of the region. Smiley and Vlad asked for their real names to be withheld for safety reasons.
    - Jareen, CNN iReport producer

    At the southern tip of Ukraine, Russian troops continue to surge into the region of Crimea. In western Ukraine, a population leaning to the European Union, continued to watch the crisis unfold with extreme worry. Two colleagues provided Skype interviews from two regions of Ukraine to provide a personal perspective of what the country is going through.


    A Crimean Tatar, going by the name of “Smile” (preferring his name to be withheld) spoke about the situation. As he spoke from Crimea during the interview, he looked up at a TV monitor and gasped, “On No!” He began reading a live report saying a Ukrainian helicopter was coming under fire from pro-Russian forces. In another area, a Crimean military base was being overrun by Russian troops. By his estimation, there are over 30,000 troops in the region.


    CNN reported had reported, “Russian troops stormed a Crimean border control point at Schelkino, near Kerch, early Saturday, seizing the armory and driving the officers' families from their living quarters, Ukraine's border service said. Meanwhile, a light plane belonging to Ukraine's State Border Protection Service was fired upon Saturday afternoon while flying over the Crimean border from Armyansk, the service said.”


    Smile also noted that there have been reports that pro-Putin troops are laying mines between the Crimean and Ukrainian borders. Smile said his country has no weapons to fight such a massive force, and “all that we have to fight with is our hearts.” He said he is afraid for his family, especially for his wife who is pregnant. He is pleading to the international community to assist in the crisis.


    In Western Ukraine, a 27-year old man, Vlad, spoke about the dire situation of his country. He is friends with Smile and has been corresponding with him when the Internet is available. Vlad said, “The air is very heavy here,” and as he spoke during thr late evening hours, you see the concern and pain in his face.


    Vlad concluded by repeating a plea from his friend in Crimea saying, “Anyone, if you have any contacts, get in touch with journalists from other countries from the West and tell them what is happening.” Ominous words from two friends connected only by e-mail and Skype. The world is watching and waiting.

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