Ronan Farrow Daily   |  April 11, 2014

Concern on the rise for Ukrainians in America

Following reports of an increased Russian troop presence on the Ukraine/Russia border, Ronan Farrow spoke to Ukrainians in New York City about their thoughts on the crisis.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> welcome back to the program, everybody. with russian troops amassing on the ukrainian border, we continue our conversation with nini, the great granddaughter of nikita kruschev . i went to church in little auto crane to see how that community is dealing with eths tearing apart their homeland. times are tense. that's for certain.

>> a lot of people are scared right now, but what's going on in ukraine right now is giving them a fear that the russian soldiers would be moving into the eastern parts of the country and maybe even western. they feel like that's the grand plan of it all, that it's going to be to take over ukraine all over again.

>> the crisis in ukraine escalates, and ukrainian- americans in communities like this one are praying for help.

>> there's a growing shrine front and center at the church where people bring clipping from hometown newspapers of those that have died for their country in recent weeks. many are moved to tears. hannah told me that "if putin had any conscience, he would let her people be." she's grateful just to have the freedom to say that here in the united states .

>> god bless ukraine .

>> father peter's family left ukraine in 1941 when they were chased out by nazis. he explained to me why the shrine is such an emotional symbol.

>> i think we have to look at them as ow new martyrs because these were young individuals who see ukraine has to go on a different direction.

>> he thinks america needs to do more to help.

>> sanctions aren't helping. it becomes a joke. putin laughing it off and taking it as a joke. that's what it is. i think we have to keep our commitments. i think the u.s. really should be giving some military aid , you know, with regards to arma meants so the ukrainians can stand on their own two feet.

>> one thing they can agree on, who is behind the crisis.

>> what do you have to say to vladimir putin ?

>> i just -- i just hate him. this kgb, they kill us in millions. leave us alone.

>> just one of the many strong opinions in this community.

>> we can't be distant or indifferent to what is going on over there.

>> what do you think the american government shut do?

>> well, i think obama should go down as a churchill not as a chamberlain.

>> a churchill, not as a chamberlain. strong opinions there. nina, you obviously mean so much to the ukrainian-american just based on your great grandfather's leg agosy. a lot of them talked about that legacy. he was on both sides of this debate because he did initially support stalin's purges, including in ukraine , but then later he denounced that and was seen as a defender of ukrainians . what would you say to that community right now?

>> well, i would apologize to them. i continue to apologize for russia for years now because i do think that putin 's behavior has not been acceptable and not of a civilized country. i mean, he is increasingly acting like a rogue state leashed, and i think that requires an apology, and since i do carry that name, i feel like it is my job to say that i am sorry and i hope, i hoped, that russia would have emerged after 60 years or whatever, 25 years now post-communism, would not behave the same way, but, unfortunately it still does.

>> we talked before about what your great grandfather might do diplomatical diplomatically. what do you think he would say to ukrainians and ukrainian- americans ?

>> it's hard to say. once again, rail don't know. he has been dead. i do know there is a story i was told at home that when soviet tanks went into chekoslovakia -- he himself crushed the similar disent in hungary in 1956 , and when he learned -- he was already in retirement, and he learned of the prague's bringing in tanks, and he said i can't believe it's been 12 years since my time and we haven't learned a better way. it has been 60 years since that time, and russia wra still hasn't learned a better way.

>> 60 years and still a lot of questions about what to do. it seems like the answer that's forming in this ukrainian-american community is quite hawkish. i heard again and again a lot of support for senator john mccain who has been in a hawkish position on this. a lot of skepticism about barack obama . do you think that this crisis is pushing ukrainian- americans more to the right?

>> probably.

>> he doesn't claim out of knowledge, but of habit so to speak. he is hawkish. i think that barack obama should try to do more diplomacy, but absolutely back it up with sanctions and back it up with some military muscle. it doesn't have to invade, but it really has to be prepared to confront putin .

>> to you think it's possible to bridge the divides between russians and ukrainians right now?

>> i didn't even know that there was a divide. i mean, until --

>> even do you think in the american community there is?

>> i have ukrainian friends. i go to ukrainian church once in a while . i live in east village . there was never any problems, so i actually find it very insulting that putin suddenly created a problem for me and my friendship with ukrainians who i consider brothers lost.

>> i know they'll all appreciate that message. thank you very much, nina. that wraps things up for today's edition. thank you for joining me. catch my shows daily at 1:00 p.m . eastern time on msnbc. up next "the reid report" with my excellent colleague joy reid. stay tuned for that.