Clearwater Crimean-Americans call for peace - WFLA News Channel 8

Clearwater Crimean-Americans call for peace

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Alex Shortov and his girlfriend, Elena Papilina Alex Shortov and his girlfriend, Elena Papilina

The images coming from Crimea in Ukraine are frightening: armed troops amassed at various ports and military facilities.

But Alex Shortov and his girlfriend, Elena Papilina, say real life looks more like some warm weather snap shots of the pair in their home town of Simferopol, Ukraine.

They both have many friends and family living in the region.

"There is no violence going on the streets in Crimea. And situation is actually peaceful," said Shortov.

The Clearwater couple are very well aware tensions are high and people are nervous, but they say most of the population still go about their daily duties, despite an economy in shambles. They believe much of what people see on television is propaganda.

Alex Shortov says many draw conclusions, not knowing the facts, and that is leading to wrong ideas.

"Members of families turing against each other. Friends turning against each other. It's happening over there, and see same things happens here," he said.

Shortov makes it very clear he is not taking any sides. He wants the Crimean people to decide if they want to be part of Russia.

"There's only one way to find out. And that would be a democratic vote," he said.

Elena Papilina has this plea.

"I want to ask world, like America, Europe and Russia, let people in Crimea decide their own , make their own decision," she said.

Contrary to some reports, Shortov claims the Russian presence in Crimea stopped extremists from threatening violence.

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