SPOKANE, Wash. - At Pilgrim Slavic Baptist Church it was a day of prayer as tension grows in Eastern Europe.
"As a church we are praying and praying for families," Pastor Alexander Kaprian said. "We are not divided in the community."
Most of the parishioners came to the United States two decades ago from the former Soviet Union. They still have family and friends in Ukraine and Russia, where talks of war between the two countries are starting to become real. On Sunday, Ukrainian Interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said the country was on the brink of disaster.
"This is a red alert. This is not a threat. This is actually a declaration of war to my country," Yatsenyuk said in a televised address.
Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the green light for troops to mobilize into the southern part of Ukraine following a unanimous vote from Parliament. The move is causing locals with family and friends in the Eastern European countries to worry. Maryna Wolff has family in that area and said her sister is already seeing a military presence.
"She said that there are armored vehicles moving into the area," Wolff said with translation from her husband.
Maryna and Bailey Wolff met in Ukraine in late 2012 while Bailey was serving in the Peace Corps. They married in December and have only been back to Spokane for two months. When they left Ukraine, protesters had just knocked down the statue of Lenin in the capitol city of Kiev. The couple didn't expect that three months later the country would be talking about war.
"The whole thing is scary, you wonder what's going to happen," Bailey Wolff said.
Others in the Inland Northwest with family and friends in both Russia and Ukraine are hoping for a peaceful outcome.
"Just pray at this time," Kaprian said. "That's the best that we can do."
The Obama Administration announced Sunday afternoon that Secretary of State John Kerry would visit Ukraine's capitol on Tuesday.
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