The Lugansk club in Ukraine offered to be on Skype for 4 hours on March 1 to celebrate World Friendship Day and reconnect with friends around the world, including members of Friendship Force of Southern Oregon. This was especially timely considering the turmoil engulfing Ukraine in recent days. To participate, one had to log in to phantom88810 between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m., Pacific time. Our club president, Noreen Hulteen, did so. Here is her report:

I Just got off the phone with our Ukraine friends. There was no video because of multiple callers. Naturally, the conversation was limited a little due to the language barrier. My Russian vocabulary is "thank you" and "goodbye." Someone was kindly translating, and here are the main points I understood: In Lugansk there are splits whether Russia or the West should be the "Mother Country" ("sic," my words, to explain my understanding). Though Russian speaking, they do not all identify themselves as Russian. They do not want interference from outside the country. They want to sort this out for themselves. They were adamant about this. Someone said that they would prefer to be like the USA -- separate states with some state laws and yet still one country with laws that apply to all. (I didn't tell them that it doesn't always work perfectly!).They want to use the language of their choice. Eastern Ukraine and Crimea speak Russian, Western Ukraine speaks Ukrainian, but they can all speak to each other.

 I told them that their friends here in Oregon support their rights to work it out for themselves, and we support that war should not be a solution. I promised that I would write to my elected representatives and ask them to resist those who want to take us into wars where we are not wanted, or helpful.

Banner of Friendship Force of Lugansk, Ukraine



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