Central New York families with relatives in Ukraine hope peace agreement holds up

At St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church on Syracuse's west side, those with family ties to Ukraine were hopeful Friday's accord would end the violence. The accord could be a step towards new elections and a turning point - but Orst Hrycyk and others also had good reason to be skeptical of current president Yanukovich.

"Because Yanukovich has a history of not adhering to his agreements or what he says he's going to do," said Hrycyk.

Dozens of protestors have been killed in Kiev's independence square and hundreds more wounded. Police loyal to Yanukovich had used snipers to attack the protestors encampment. Nadia Hayduke and others in Syracuse have been asked by relatives I to avoid contact them for now, since many Ukrainian citizens believe the government has their phones tapped

"There was a lot of listening and bugging devices and the same thing is still going on now. You want to make sure your family is safe and not threatened," said Hayduke.

Pastor Mykhaylo Dosyak wanted to go back to Ukraine and help his mother care for his his ill father but was told it would be too dangerous.

"She says, don't come. People are disappearing. Right now the regime just grabs people," said Dosyak.

Ukraine's parliament voted to limit Yanukovich's powers. Many here in the U.S. hope he will be prosecuted for crimes against humanity but for now, families in Central New York can only pray. Many have put their faith in protestors who continue to maintain their camp in Kiev while the world waits to see if Yanukovich lives up to the accord's terms.

"The true meaning of the people are the ones that are standing peacefully protesting and it looks like now through that peace - it will come to fruition," said Greg Lisnyczyj from Syracuse.

St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church is organizing a peaceful vigil to support protestors in Kiev. It will be held Tuesday, February 25th near Syracuse City Hall.