TULSA - She's lived in the United States for nearly 16 years, and loves her adopted country, but Larissa Bright hasn't forgotten her native Ukraine.
She stays in constant contact with her parents in Kiev, Skyping with them on a daily basis, Bright tells KRMG.
When asked about the current crisis, she points the finger at politics, and more specifically, Russian President Vladimir Putin.
"I think there is many reasons why it's in Putin's interest (to) keep Ukraine as a territory of Russia," she said, not least of which is Ukraine's bids to join the European Union and NATO.
She believes Putin installedViktor Yanukovych as president in Ukraine because he knew he was corrupt, that he would drain the Ukrainian economy of billions of dollars, and that would leave the country helpless against a Russian attempt to reabsorb it as a territory.
She says the pretext that Russian-speaking Ukrainians need protection is simply a lie.
"I don't want people in Tulsa (to) believe that Russian people are being abused in Ukraine, or mistreated, or they're prohibited (to speak the) Russian language. It's a false statement."
She also notes that Crimea, in the southeastern part of Ukraine along the coast of the Black Sea, is a highly strategic location.
"It's a perfect place for a military base...I believe that eventually he (Putin) would like to join this back to Russia, and create Russian empire like it used to be."
She worries for the future of Ukraine, and hopes that the U.S., Great Britain, NATO and the EU will combine to prevent a complete Russian takeover of Ukraine.
The future of her people, she believes, lies with Europe, and not with the old Soviet bloc.