Triangle woman from Ukraine speaks out against violence

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- For some in the Triangle, the Malaysian flight tragedy in the Ukraine is hitting close to home.

ABC11 spoke to a woman who we're only calling "Juliette." For her protection, she did not want to give her full name, claiming even here in the Triangle, she has friends who have spoken to the media in support of Ukraine and suffered harassment. Despite that, she chose to speak out, wanting to stand up for what she believes.

"If I can get a message to one person in the United States that can get that message to five more people and then it will spread," said Juliette.

Like many of us, Juliette watched the horrific images on the news showing the explosion, black smoke filling the air and metal and debris spanning 10 miles that were once part of a plane carrying nearly 300 people. Unlike many of us, Malaysian Flight MH17 crashed in the country she calls home, adding to the deadly, ongoing conflict with Russia.

"Being a Ukrainian, it feels like whole world is just watching and doing nothing," said Juliette.

The U.S. has confirmed a missile took down the plane, but has yet to say who fired and if it was intentional.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko though is already calling it an act of terrorism, along with Juliette.

"This is an act of terrorism. Because as a citizen of Ukraine, I know there are not many Ukrainians who support Russia," said Juliette. "It seems like they were just shooting, not knowing it was a passenger plane."

Her family is western Ukraine, but while they're not close to the Russian border, Juliette says death and fear trickles throughout the entire country.

"You have military planes flying over every day and people are afraid to wake up and find out what's going to be on the news," she said. "A lot of guys who have volunteered to protect the Ukrainian border, they come from the west and then you get the bodies shipped. Yesterday, my parents went to a funeral of one of the guys who was fighting protecting the Ukrainian border. So you can imagine it's like death is just hanging over you."

Juliette hasn't been home in two years and, in just a month, she and her two little girls have plane tickets to visit her family. Her grandparents are very elderly and she says her grandfather is dying of cancer. She was hoping to visit him before he passes away.

The inevitable uncertainty though surrounding the aftermath of the crash now has her rethinking those plans. The decision to cancel that flight will keep her from her family that much longer and away from a country she wants so badly to be there for.

"I felt like I wanted to be part of it all, stand there with my people and actually do something," said Juliette. "But you are here and your family is here and you know you have kids you have to be here for them."

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