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Ukrainians: We do not want to be part of Russia

PHOENIX -- As the threat of Russian military action in Ukraine grows, two residents said the last thing the troubled country wants is interference from a world power.

"We want to stay a part of Ukraine and we want Ukraine to be an independent country, just like it was the past 23 years," said Maryna Plushnic-Gladyr.

Alex Dumanov echoed Plushnic-Gladyr's sentiments.

"We don't want to be like some chess figure in the big chess (game) of (Vladimir) Putin," he said.

Plushnic-Gladyr said the Russian presence is being felt in her town of Odessa, which is a six-hour drive from the contested Crimea region.

"They tried to attack the building of regional administration," she said. "They put a Russian flag right in front of the building."

Russia has effectively turned Crimea into a protectorate. Russian soldiers are in control of all Crimean border posts, as well as all military facilities in the territory. They also control a ferry terminal in a city that's just 12 miles across the water from Russia.

As Russia tightens its stranglehold over Crimea, it's also calling for Ukraine to return to an agreement signed last month aimed at ending Ukraine's crisis. The agreement called for President Viktor Yanukovych to hold early elections and give up many of his powers. Yanukovych later fled to Russia.

Both Plushnic-Gladyr and Dumanov said they hope western nations step in to stop the Russian aggression.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

About the Author

Martha is the traffic controller in the KTAR newsroom. Her full time role is that of Assignment and Breaking News Editor of KTAR News. She oversees daily Breaking News planning and over-the air execution, and puts together the elements that make it happen. She gathers and distributes daily news assignments to reporters and editors. She also reports on a daily basis, anchors news afternoons 1-2p and fills in as anchor occasionally during other time slots. She began working at KTAR in the winter of 2012 as Desk Editor and was promoted to oversee Assignments and Breaking News in 2014. During that time, she received two awards as a journalist. The first was the 2013 APTRA Awards, where she took home 2nd place for Best Serious Future in the "Recycled Orchestra." The second was a 2014 Edward R. Murrow Award for her collaboration in KTAR's Voice for a Better Arizona Series: Immigration - seeking solutions. In her piece, Martha profiled two Arizona sisters looking for the DREAM. Martha was born in Mazatlan, Mexico. She moved to Arizona in 1996 with her parents and younger sister and has lived here since. She attended Barry Goldwater High School in Phoenix and graduated from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University in Tempe. Prior to working at KTAR news she worked in news and production at Univision Arizona in Phoenix. She also supervised the marketing, catering and public relations department at Hotel Araiza, 5-star hotel in Mexicali, Mexico. She has also been a personal trainer and aerobics instructor. When she isn't in the newsroom or behind the microphone Martha is an avid gym-goer and marathoner. She trains for two races a year and enjoys taking group exercise classes, such as kickboxing, indoor cycling and weight lifting. Martha is married and lives in Surprise, AZ with 2 dogs, Tasha and Elsa, and a cat, Sammy.


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