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'I'm not going to judge': Russian-Americans in Las Vegas on Ukrainian invasion, Putin

Berdyansk
Satellite image (c) 2022 Maxar Technologies, DigitalGlobe/Getty Images
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Maxar collected new satellite imagery of the southern Ukrainian port city of Berdyansk that reveals a Russian Alligator-class landing ship that is burned and partially submerged near one of the port's loading/unloading quays. Fire and smoke is also seen nearby and close to several fuel storage tanks.

The ongoing invasion of Ukraine has many Nevadans trying to better understand the social and political psyche of Russians and their political leaders.

There are many Russians and Ukrainians in Nevada; many of them work in the high-powered shows of Cirque du Soleil on the Las Vegas Strip.

How are they relating to each other now?

Yelena Brezhneva and Lilia Vasilyeva are with the Las Vegas Russian-American Chamber of Commerce.

"Our main purpose is uniting a local community and creating a platform for local Russian-American population, business, people, entrepreneurs, to share their business practices," described Brezhneva.

Brezhneva said they’ve gotten harassment via text and social media, and knows other Russians in the West who have been threatened in response to the invasion un Ukraine.

She said she’s a child of an era of peace between both nations, and her father is Ukrainian.

“Unfortunately, this conflict is very difficult. It involves many, many years of, I would think, probably poor foreign policies and domestic disputes that have been instigated. And there are some people who are cashing out on this conflict,” she said.

Brezhneva has been in the U.S. for 25 years.

Vasilyeva has said Russia is not about Vladimir Putin.

“Russia is about Russian culture. It's about the beauty. It's about the ballets, the Swan Lake, it's about Tchaikovsky, it's about music, it's about Pushkin, you know, the poetry,” she said.

She then said most Russians in Russia and the U.S. have no control over the policies or politics of the invasion. “That is why we are suffering people,” she said.

“I'm no one here to judge and say whose fault is this, right? And what's going on, and who is the bad guy, who is a good guy here, right? I'm not going to judge. But I just really want people to see all sides of the story before making the judgment,” said Vasilyeva.

Yelena Brezhneva and Lilia Vasilyeva, Las Vegas Russian-American Chamber of Commerce

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Dave Berns, now a producer for State of Nevada, recently returned to KNPR after having previously worked for the station from 2005 to 2009.