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Local residents with family members in Ukraine hold onto hope as Russia invades country

CHARLOTTE — President Vladimir Putin said Thursday morning that Russia will conduct a military operation in eastern Ukraine, The Associated Press reported.

[Ukraine-Russia live updates: Putin says Russia will conduct operation in eastern Ukraine]

On Wednesday evening, the U.N. Security Council had held an emergency meeting in New York City as tensions increase between Russia and Ukraine.

The United States hit Russia with more sanctions Wednesday in an effort to prevent an invasion.

Ukraine asked for the emergency meeting as it remains under a state of emergency.

Locally, people with families in Ukraine are worried about what will happen next.

There are about 20,000 Ukrainians in North Carolina and they are worried about their country and the possibility of war.

“So my parents were born in Ukraine and then fled that region during World War II,” said Motria Procyk, a Ukraine supporter.

Procyk, 58, was born in New York City and lives in Davidson.

Her family has been involved in the effort to keep Ukraine independent for as long as she can remember.

The Pentagon press secretary said there are more than 150,000 Russian troops on Ukraine’s doorstep.

“There are some nights when I am following the news perhaps a little bit too late and waking up in the morning following it,” Procyk said.

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She is also in constant contact with family members who are still in Ukraine.

“The response of some family members, were that, ‘No, we are not going to flee. We are not going to leave with the tail between our legs. We will fight. We will preserve and defend our country,’” Procyk said.

Procyk said the Russians will find that Ukraine is not a pushover. She said these are difficult days but she has never been prouder of her country.

“We draw strength from that past and I will draw strength from kind of recognizing the heroism, that my family and those that I know and love in Ukraine will be expressing,” Procyk said.

(Watch the video below: Ukraine-Russia Crisis: What you need to know)

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