Ukraine native keeps eye on riots from Indianapolis
The unrest in Ukraine is being felt half a world away, here in Indianapolis.
Around 20,000 people with ties to Ukraine, live in and around the Circle City. Anya Aslanova is one of them.
"To see what's happening downtown Kiev is just heartbreaking," she said.
Her job at the Indianapolis Art Center is developing educational programs. But these days she's preoccupied with what's happening in her birth country.
"Seeing buildings that I grew up in and are so dear to me, being completely destroyed, it's awful to watch," she explained.
Aslanova grew up in the capital city of Kiev. She moved to the U.S. as a high school student in 1994 and to Indianapolis a decade later.
"To see so many people dying is absolutely heartbreaking. This is not normal," she said.
It's difficult for her to understand the level of violence in an otherwise peaceful country. Hundreds have been injured in the riots and dozens killed.
She took pictures of Kiev during a visit in October. Accompanied by her eight-year-old son, she had no idea her photos would be some of the last peaceful images of the city. Her daily updates are from friends and online Ukrainian newspapers. The complicated political situation pits civilians against the Russia-allied government.
"I understand that people are not going to give up. They see it as their only chance to really make a difference for Ukraine, once and for all," Aslanova said.
The government has labeled protesters "terrorists," while demonstrators call the regime corrupt and demand democracy.
"I hope it's not going to get worse before it gets better. I hope this is the worst that we've seen," said Aslanova.