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Local Ukrainians hope to help families of Malaysian Airline crash victims

By ANNA MEILER

UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) -- Though thousands of miles from the site where a Malaysian airliner was shot down, Father Michael Bundz, the priest at Saint Volodymyr Ukrainian Catholic Church, says many Ukrainians in Utica are mourning the blood shed on their soil.

"My parishioners have families. They are crying. It's a bad situation and we don't know what to say. We're hopeless, we can do nothing except pray," said Father Bundz.

Father Bundz's assistant says the death of 298 innocent people brings back painful memories for parishioners.

"Most of our church is elderly. They're 70 plus. This is taking them back to what they went through as children during the war. The suffering and the dying, just tragedy, tragedy, tragedy, one after the other," said Christopher Salo.

It's yet to be determined who pulled the trigger on what is believed to be a surface-to-air missile. But with 5,000 Ukrainians living in the Utica area, Father Bundz is outraged Russia is pointing the finger at his people.

"Shame for the situation. Some people thinking Ukraine did something bad to the world, but we are innocent. We did nothing, you know, we just feel sorry for the situation," said Father Bundz.

There will be a special mass Sunday morning for the people killed in Ukraine, and the church is also collecting donations for the victims' families.

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