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KU professor offers insight to Ukraine crisis

By Jennifer Joas, Reporter, JJoas@wfmz.com
Published On: Jul 18 2014 04:33:16 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 18 2014 05:16:07 PM CDT

KU professor offers insight to Ukraine crisis

READING, Pa. -

President Obama is calling for an immediate cease-fire in Ukraine just a day after a Malaysia Airlines flight was shot down by a missile.

During remarks at the White House, the President offered condolences for the nearly 300 passengers and crew aboard the plane that was traveling from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

 U.S. Intelligence officials believe pro-Russia rebels likely fired a surface-to-air missile at the plane.

 Of course, the turmoil in eastern Ukraine started long before that plane was shot down.

Gary Cordner is a professor at Kutztown University. He has traveled to Ukraine several times over the past year to work with police and offer assistance on behalf of the Justice Department.

"The work that we have been doing with Ukraine has been very difficult already the last six months or so because of the course of the turmoil," said Cordner, a Kutztown University professor of criminal justice.

There has been unrest in Ukraine for the past several months.

In February, thousands of protesters set the capital's central square on fire as they fought for closer ties to the European Union.

Then, over the last several weeks, Russian-backed separatists shot down a Ukrainian transport plane and helicopter and claimed responsibility for shooting down a Ukrainian fighter jet.

But, this just became a world conflict after Malaysia Airlines flight 17 was shot down by a surface-to-air missile killing 298 people.

President Obama offered the support of the FBI and the National Transportation Safety Board to investigate the crash. He is urging U.S. allies to ramp up pressure on the Kremlin.

"This certainly will be a wake-up call for Europe and the world that there are consequences to an escalating conflict in eastern Ukraine," said President Barack Obama.

 After this plane crash, Cordner says his job working with police in the region has become even more difficult.

 "Working with them on learning to become more responsive to the public, more democratic, more open, more transparent. That is hard to do when the other side is firing missiles," said Cordner.

President Obama says at least one American citizen is among the victims.