Ethnic Czechs in Ukraine want to return home

PRAGUE (AP) — Speaker of the Czech Parliament's lower house is urging the government to help ethnic Czechs living in Ukraine return home.

Jan Hamacek reacted Wednesday to a request by some 45 families who asked for help, citing fear of an uncertain future. Most live in or nearby the city of Zhytomyr, 130 kilometers (80 miles) west of Kiev, and two families are from Simferopol in Crimea, which was annexed by Russia.

Hamacek says a quick help is needed: "There's no reason to wait." Some Czechs moved to Ukraine's Volyn region in the 19th century and others followed in the 20th century when a part of southwestern Ukraine belonged to Czechoslovakia from 1919 till the end of World War II.

That territory was taken by the Soviet Union after the war.

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