Chesapeake woman eager to leave Ukraine

CHESAPEAKE, Va. (WAVY) — The rising tensions in Ukraine have one Chesapeake woman nervous about her safety. Keiara Avant is in Kiev and is eager to get out.

For the past six months, Avant has been living her dream in Kiev, Ukraine: “This is what I wanted and to succeed throughout the season here was good for me.”

After playing for Hampton University, it was Avant’s dream to play professional basketball. She got that chance in Ukraine, but that all changed when political tension in the country started mounting. The country is currently divided about who should be in charge — the Ukrainian elected government or the Russian government.

“As far as everyday living, its normal,” Avant said. “But I can see on the Ukrainians faces they are sad about what is going on right now.”

At first, Avant said the protests were peaceful, but then Russian troops moved in.

“That, for me right there, was like, ‘Wow it isn’t safe, as far as walking down the street.’ Our coach came and picked us up that day,” Avant said.

Because of the tension, Avant’s basketball season has been suspended. She hoped things would cool down, so she could play again.

“I felt my safety was in danger,” she said. “I tried to give it time and say, ‘ok, they will calm down.’ In reality, things began to get worse.”

Avant said the increasing number of Russian troops is why she’s leaving: “I made the decision for myself, that to protect my safety, and I have family that is waiting for my arrival back home.”

Avant will leave  Ukraine Thursday morning and is expected back in the states at 3:30 p.m. She said if the political unrest has settled by next season she will consider going back to play in the Ukraine.

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