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Martin battles distance, language barrier to find love of his life

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Feb 18, 2014 at 11:21 PM

Walter Martin believes he found the love of his life last year when he logged on to an international dating website and found Sveta Reznichenko.

The 27-year-old from Greenwich says he has always been attracted to international women and when his friends joked about finding a Russian bride online; he turned their jibe into reality.

"If a woman (on the website) doesn't speak any English they'll just translate what she is saying into English and what you're saying into Russian," Martin said.

Reznichenko, 23, is from Ukraine, a country situated between Poland and Russia in Eastern Europe. Since November the country has seen major protests against its president, Viktor Yanukovych, and his policies in favor of closer ties to Russia.

Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991. Now it faces internal conflict as the eastern portion of the state favors diplomacy with Russia and the western part looks to establish accords with the European Union.

President Yanukovych agreed to a pending $15 billion trade deal with Russia President Vladimir Putin in November, sparking outrage in the capital city of Kiev which quickly expanded to nearby cities.

But the problems Martin and Reznichenko now face did not begin until last month when Yanukovych announced the implementation of anti-protest laws and extensive limitations on free speech and communication.

Because of the new restrictions Martin hears from Reznichenko only once a week through email. In recent weeks he has grown increasingly concerned about her safety in the ideologically and culturally torn country.

Marin says, "She scared because of how complicated the situation is becoming. You know because they have all heard that there's going to be a civil war."

There is widespread understanding in the international community that if military force is used to curb the protesting and the initiation of martial law civil war could occur, although its highly unlikely according to most diplomats.

Martin does not speak Russian like Reznichenko does, and Renichenko does not speak English. He says with the help of translators and translation websites they have been able to not only communicate, but also actually fall in love with one another.

"I do know with our relationship we're trying to do whatever we can to remain together," Martin said.

Ukraine's political alliances and trade deal discussions have taken a back seat in recent days due to Russia's hosting of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Putin has threatened the country in past months to join his Eurasian Customs Union, and many believe he will advance his efforts once the international spotlight is no longer cast on Russia.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was written by Jeremy Wiedle.

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