Ukrainian Delegates in Nebraska To Learn About Democracy

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Lincoln, NE - Five future leaders of Ukraine have made Lincoln their home this week to learn more about democracy and ways to improve the lives of their people back home.

All this despite threats from Russian forces on the Crimean Peninsula.

"People are more scared because we don't know what will happen next," Oleksandra Sabetska, 23, said.

Sabetska is one of the visiting delegates. She said the violence in their capitol city, Kiev, has subsided. But, their struggles are far from over.

"Our people don't want to be Russians," Sabetska said.

"We're Ukrainians. We have our own native language, traditions and we don't feel like we're Russians."

That's why Sabetska and four other delegates from the Ukrainian parliament are visiting the United States.

They're learning about democracy from state lawmakers, learning about the state's disability programs and the youth centers we have in place for our children.

Their focus while in America is social policy with an emphasis on children.

"All together, we should cope with those problems the whole society [is] concerned with," Maksym Khlapuk, another delegate, said.

The Open World Leadership Center, a group providing their time in America, said the group toured the University of Nebraska at Lincoln's Memorial Stadium. According to the center, one delegate said the university's athletic department had better medical equipment than their hospitals in Ukraine.

Sabetska also said many care facilities lack the equipment and ability to effectively care for the disabled or those with special needs.

But, they're well aware of the military threats they face from Russia. They said they're nervous as to exactly what the Russian government has planned. But, they want to focus on diplomatic solutions, and find peaceful ways to resolve the conflict while maintaining their independence.

"I'm willing to live in peace," Sabetska said, "and to bring peace towards all the other nations; because, I consider my nation as one of the most peaceful nations."