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COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) — A North Mississippi man who grew up in Ukraine is speaking out about Thursday’s plane attack that killed nearly 300 people.

Dr. George Pinchuk left Ukraine more than 20 years ago, but he’s still passionate about his native country, and concerned about the war.

“Cruel, and stupid, and inhuman, and really something that has to be stopped,” he said. “In Kiev, and in Lutsk, it’s pretty safe now, but we don’t know what’s going to happen in a month or so. It’s a very fast moving picture, and it’s not moving in the right direction.”

Pinchuk says Russian terrorists didn’t intend to hit the passenger plane in Thursday’s deadly crash. He believes they had a different target.

“It couldn’t even enter my mind that someone would fire a strategic missile that flies 33,000 feet toward a plane, which they did not really identify,” he said. “They just thought that they knew that it was a Ukrainian military transport without even checking, without analyzing the data information. There definitely were signals from the passenger plane that they were passenger.”

Despite the current conflict between some Russians and Ukrainians, Pinchuk was still surprised at what happened.

“It’s horrible, and Russia certainly is responsible for that because, where did they take this BUK launcher? It’s a strategic weapon, you know. They couldn’t buy it in a local supermarket. They took it from Russia.”

Though Ukraine’s future is uncertain, Pinchuk says he’ll likely make another trip home next year.

He tells WCBI he doesn’t think the U.S. or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization should be directly involved in the war by sending in troops, but they should instead send supplies to the Ukrainian army, and help with their training.

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