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Former teacher who split time between Russia, Ukraine shares perspective

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- As images and videos continue to roll in showing the unrest in Ukraine, Jonathan Henderson says his heart is breaking. Henderson, a former language and Bible teacher, would split his time between Russia and Ukraine. Now, he's watching from Colorado as the streets he used to roam devolve into chaos.

“I’ve walked many of the streets… ridden the subways… been four levels down in some of those amazing places…and these people loved us," says Henderson. "They were the first to feed us. They taught us how to shop, how to survive without getting run over by the mob - whatever that means.”

Henderson spent three years between the European countries in the 90s. He says the relationship between most Russian and Ukrainian people is friendly. But now, the long and complex history between the two has led to a fight for independence and power is taking a dark toll.

“Ukrainians don’t hate all Russian people. Russians don’t all hate Ukrainians,” Henderson says. "I would say a greedy government initiative from Russia.”

Henderson shares that many of his former students in Russia have started working as medics for whomever they see in need of help. And his Ukrainian loved ones, asking for prayers and seeking shelter in subways and basements.

He's worried about the outcome of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, adding he knows no one in support of the destruction. He notes that unlike many battles fought before this, it seems obvious where people stand.

“Most of the world has stood up and said, Putin, that’s just rotten you should quit,” Henderson says.

Henderson says he checks in on his European friends from all those years ago regularly but has a message for everyone experiencing the warfare:

“[Ukrainian] I love you all. [Ukrainian] I love all of Ukraine."

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Natalie Haddad

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