While the military tensions escalate a world away, concern intensifies for locals with loved ones in Ukraine.
CBS2 spoke with people over the weekend at Rondel, a Ukrainian restaurant in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn.
“I’m really worried, because I have all my family lives there. My mom and my sister live there,” Olga Aksonova said. “I hope that God will be with us and with our family there.”
That’s all many people here can do — worry and wait.
Councilwoman Inna Vernikov represents Brooklyn’s District 48, where she says more than half of the constituents are from the former Soviet Union, including Ukraine. She immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 12 from Ukraine and still has friends there.
“They are disheartened about what’s going on. They are ready to do whatever they can to defend their country,” Vernikov said. “I feel that right now, Russian President Putin really sees the Biden administration as a continuation of the Obama-era foreign policy. I think that he sees the leadership as very weak… I think that sanctions are way overdue. I think they should have been imposed yesterday.”
The Biden administration has alerted U.S. companies of potential cyberattacks from Russia if the U.S. does impose sanctions.
On Sunday, Gov. Kathy Hochul reviewed cybersecurity preparedness with her cabinet leaders, saying, “The reality is that because New York State is a leader in the finance, healthcare, energy, and transportation sectors, our state is an attractive target for cyber criminals and foreign adversaries.”
Meantime in Yonkers, Ukrainian Americans gathered at St. Michael’s Church for a special prayer service led by the bishop of the Stamford diocese of the Ukrainian Catholic church.
“The mobilization of the troops, that’s up to the government, up to the military. We’re organizing and mobilizing the people to pray,” said Bishop Paul Chomnycky.
Hochul also reminded New Yorkers that cyberattacks could come on personal devices, so people should make sure their passwords and security are updated and to watch out for older people who may fall victim to scams.