CLEVELAND (WJW) – The tense situation in Ukraine hits close to home for tens of thousands of Northeast Ohioans with ties to the region.

Local members of the Ukrainian community are closely watching developments as concern for relatives still living in the country grows.

“Like so many Clevelanders and Greater Clevelanders, we have connections with Ukraine and obviously, we’re very concerned with what’s going on now,” said Andy Fedynsky, director of the Ukrainian Museum-Archives in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood.

For 70 years, it has documented and preserved Ukrainian history and culture.

“This is not something new… Ukraine and Russia go back centuries,” Fedynsky said.

He says his parents were refugees after World War II. He still has relatives, including many cousins, who live in Ukraine.

“They’re troubled, they’re concerned, but they’re also firm in their defense of their, what is basically, a new-found independence through the years now,” said Fedynsky

Ohio’s largest Ukrainian community lives in Parma. A section of State Road, called Ukrainian Village, is filled with various shops and delis.

FOX 8 spoke to several members of the Ukrainian community in Parma. They did not want to go on camera, but they did say they are very worried about some of their relatives back in Ukraine.

“If it comes to war, there are going to be thousands of Russian soldiers, thousands of Ukrainian soldiers die, and the question is…. for what?” said Fedynsky.

One woman we talked to questioned what could be done.  Another, also worried about relatives, cried while talking about the situation in Ukraine.

Back at the museum, Fedynsky says he’s watching closely to see how America responds.

“This is not an easy task to energize 30-plus NATO members in support of Ukraine, and to face down an unpredictable Russian leader who God knows why he’s doing this,” he said.

Fedynsky says last week, he participated in a virtual meeting with Ohio Senator Rob Portman, who is co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus.

Portman had just returned from Ukraine, along with a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators.

Tuesday, Fedynsky spoke to staff members from Senator Sherrod Brown’s office. Senator Brown is a vice-chair on the same committee.