UK & World News
Russian Expats Eye Future Of Crimea From US
Brighton Beach in New York has one of America's largest populations of Russians.
They have brought their language and traditions to their adopted home.
And now, with some uncertainty, they are watching their old country face off against their new one.
Mother-of-two Lena Kryshtal supports Russia's right to protect its own citizens, but hopes an international presence will prevent any bloodshed.
She said: "I'm very happy (with) what I hear on the TV about Obama and America bringing submarine ships to Ukraine.
"If something happens they're going to do something."
Russian-speaking Ukrainian Susanna Vishne agreed.
She told Sky News: "I think Putin's not going to make war, he's afraid of the United States."
But most of the people we spoke to expressed absolute loyalty to Russia.
Brighton Beach is often referred to by the locals as Little Odessa, after the Ukrainian town on the Black Sea that used to be part of Imperial Russia.
That sensibility frames most discussions about Crimea.
As he shopped for groceries in the Russian food store, Michael Gorodestsky said he was happy that Crimea is having a referendum on whether to join Russia or stay in Ukraine.
He said: "It was Russian, it belonged to Russia and Russia gave it to Ukraine like a present because we were united - Russia with Ukraine.
"Today they want to separate, because two and half million people are Russian - Russian people, Russian language."
In Cafe Volna on the seafront, the conversation flows with the vodka.
Isaac Piro invites us to sit with him and his family as they talk about what they see as the growing strength of Russia
He said: "We have today, around the globe, in all these countries, one leader.
"You'd be surprised - it's Putin, because Obama is empty space and in all European countries, (it's) same thing."
The table agreed, adding they felt ethic Russians, especially Jewish Russians, were under threat in Ukraine and needed protection.
But on the other side of the restaurant, two Russian-speaking Ukrainians had a very different view.
Interior designer Irene Ardelian said: "Nobody gets involved in Russian decisions, like who they should elect and how they should operate their country, so I think the same would be fair to Ukraine too."
Business manager Rita Kriss added: "I hope Crimea will be in Ukraine because it belongs to Ukraine. We don't need a Putin regime anywhere - look what happened to Georgia.
"Putin wants to dominate and it's not going to work this time."
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