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Ukraine is not divided – it is being divided

I WAS born in Kiev, Ukraine and spent 22 years of my life there. As all my family and friends are Russian speakers, Ukrainian always felt rather like a foreign language that I knew well, but hardly used in everyday life. But wherever I went, including the Ukrainian-speaking west, I never felt any pressure to switch to Ukrainian.

There are enough Russian schools, Press and books, TV and radio channels available; many Ukrainian web pages come in two languages. Speeches by Russian politicians about discrimination in Ukraine leave me baffled.

Ukraine is not divided; it is being divided. The main issue that creates tensions is a massive information campaign aimed at the Russian-speaking regions.

Many people in the east and south rely on the Russian Press. Without access to internet and far from the capital, people don't find it hard to believe the "news".

I tried to watch Russian news, but I lost my patience after a report showing "thousands of Ukrainian refugees fleeing Ukraine for Russia". It showed a checkpoint near the Polish border.

The real news is much more scary: Russian soldiers surrounding the Ukrainian military base in Crimea and Russian politicians handing new Russian passports to the Ukrainian militants .

The world needs to act quickly.

JULIA FEDORENKO

By email

Belfast Telegraph

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