RICHMOND, Va. - A Russian man who is now living in Virginia is watching the international conflict involving his home country with sadness.
Andrey Karpov is a leader in what's called the Russian-Speaking Richmond Community Online. It's a place for people to share their common culture and customs.
"We definitely strongly oppose everything that's being done right now externally, with people of Ukraine and other countries around Russia," Karpov said.
Karpov first came to the United States in 2001 from his home in St. Petersburg. His family settled in New Jersey and he went to college in New York.
He spent many years in banking in Russia and in the United States, making his way to Richmond in 2018.
Today he works as a life coach and also as a consultant for IT4Causes, a Richmond area-based business that helps non-profits with their technology.
He is joining many others in shock and disbelief over his native Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
"I'm honestly very deeply saddened by all of this and I really did not imagine that things would go this far," Karpov said.
As of late Friday, more than 100 Ukrainians have been killed by Russian forces. Over 300 people have been injured.
"This conflict is about Putin and his government, his regime, his corruptness and his terror and his attitude towards regular people," Karpov said.
Karpov believes that those who support the invasion have fallen prey to propaganda and false information, particularly the older population. He said many other Russians, even in remote areas, are not aligned with their government.
"They oppose strongly the Russian government. They do not want to go to war and they do not want horrific events that are taking place," Karpov said.
In recent days, there have been anti-Putin protests happening in Russia's capital city of Moscow. Karpov hopes the world's condemnation and response will prove to be effective.
"Whether you're Russian, whether you're Ukrainian or whether you're an American-born person, it's about humanity. We're all our brothers and sisters. It doesn't matter how you look, what language you speak or what religion you practice. It's about friendship and compassion. And we should all pray for Ukrainians right now and for resolution of this horrible situation," Karpov said.