ALBANY, N.Y. – A former Siena College basketball player living in Ukraine has first-hand accounts of the mounting violence in the country.
The months-long, mostly peaceful protests in the capital of Kiev have spread across the country as people in other cities have taken over government buildings. One of those buildings was in Cherkasy where former Siena star Ronald Moore lives.
“Tonight, about two blocks away from my house there were a lot of people gathering, and police had to disperse the crowd using force from what I hear,” he said.
Moore is used to being in the middle of the action on the basketball court, but as he now plays in the Ukraine, he finds himself too close to the action of civil unrest.
“I just try to go to practice, come home, and stay out of harm's way,” he continued.
He received that advice from his coaches. His fellow players are not participating in the protests, but his translator is taking part.
“He's sent me some photos from down the street, and when we were in Kiev a few months back he had down time to go protest,” Moore said.
Moore said watching people in Ukraine fight for their basic rights has been an eye-opener.
“Being an American, that comes free and natural that people over here don't get it – them fighting for the right to have to protest,” he said.
Moore will play in Ukraine for a few more months and a front row seat to history.
“Hopefully it doesn't escalate, but that may change,” he explained. “I'm playing it day-by-day to see what's going on.”
The United States addressed the unrest in Ukraine Thursday. Vice President Joe Biden called Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and urged him to put an end to the bloodshed between protesters and the government.
Biden wants Yanukovych to address the protestors' legitimate concerns and protect their democratic freedoms. The U.S. is considering sanctions with Ukraine and adding more violence could have consequences with Ukraine's relationship with the U.S.