A trip to Ukraine and Russia this spring by 21 Iowa State University students and staff has been cancelled due to the growing tension between the two countries.
Jody Cornell, the Study Abroad Coordinator with the ISU College of Agriculture Science, says the decision follows the “travel warning” recently issued by the U.S. State Department. “Iowa State University does not send any students where there is a travel warning issued by the U.S. Department of State,” Cornell says. The students and staff had planned to visit both countries in May to learn about their swine industries.
Cornell has spent a lot of time in Ukraine. He first went there in 1994 as part of an ISU study abroad program. Cornell’s most recent trip to Ukraine was last fall. “I was just visiting there in September. I have really good friends over there, including a godson,” Cornell said. “In September, I never would have guessed that anything like this would be happening.”
Weeks of violent protests, led to the removal of Ukraine’s president last week. Now, Russian troops are holding border posts in Crimea, a strategic Ukrainian peninsula. Cornell is hopeful a peaceful settlement can be reached. “I’m very supportive of Ukraine sovereignty, just like President Obama. The rest of the world needs to understand and respect the sovereignty of Ukraine,” Cornell said. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will be in Ukraine Tuesday.
(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)