Palm Desert man living in Ukraine reacts to escalating tension

Local Palm Desert resident in Ukraine sheds light on feelings of those near crash zone

Kharkiv, UKRAINE - "It's quite an experience being in the Ukraine."
Doug Diekmann of Palm Desert has been living in Kharkiv, a city in north-eastern Ukraine since March.
He says the people of Kharkiv were devastated to hear the news of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17.

"The people here are in shock of what happened. They feel very bad for those people, innocent people that were killed," Diekmann said.

He posted this photo to Facebook of the outpouring of Ukranian support and sorrow at the Dutch embassy in Kharkiv.

"People are putting flowers there because they're really sad for what happened.  Even though they've been having to live through this, now it's innocent people involved."

Diekmann says the tragedy leads the news on Ukranian and Russian TV stations, just as it does here. But the portrayal of the crash, and who's accountable, differs significantly.
Ukranian TV aired a conversation intercepted by Ukrainian intelligence of a separatist on the scene:

"Telling them they shot it down and when they realized it was civilian aircraft they got all quiet and started blaming saying everyone on board are spies," Diekmann said.

But on Russian TV, the Kremlin is not taking responsibility, turning the blame instead on Ukraine.

"Only type of confusion is when you watch Russian television news, they're saying it's Kiev that's been doing this," he said.

Diekmann says the escalating tension in the region is beginning to disturb his sense of security. Kharkiv is just 30 miles from the Russian border. He's in Ukraine on business, and has several months before he can return.

"It is worrisome to a point.  You try to figure out what's going to happen day to day.  Russian tanks are coming across the border. Their rockets have been attacking Ukrainian military posts.  But, I'm not going to leave," he said.

Diekmann says he, along with the rest of the world, is waiting and watching to see what happens next.

He hopes more information about the crash surfaces, and that it helps put an end to the violence in southeastern Ukraine.

"Enough is now. all this has to end. a lot of innocent people have been dying," he said. "It will escalate and get worse if it doesn't stop now."

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