One Year Later…

Kateryna, an associate profession of social communications and information activities at Zaporizhzhia National University, resettled in Northern Virginia following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Below she recounts her story and the outlook and status of her and her family in the United States.

It was Saturday, February 26, 2022.  The third day of the war.   I was making pancakes in the kitchen, as there was no bread left in the stores. The television was blasting alarms that the Russian forces were rapidly advancing in the south.  Telegram messages were saying Russian tanks were only 31 miles outside of my home city of Zaporizhzhia.

With the glasses in our home shaking from explosions and an enemy helicopter being shot down nearby, and there being no shelters by us, I sent my children to the bathroom for safety.   My husband soon came into the kitchen, and said he received a call from the Military Commissariat summoning him for a meeting. I packed for him, and he also told me that I should pack necessities for myself, our children, and my mother. .  He shared then that he was going to fight for the independence of our country, and he “will have someone to return home to.” 

The decision to leave was spontaneous.  I collected warm things along with money and documents.  Our three children packed a backpack with toys and other small things that were most valuable to them. We thought we would be home in a few weeks. My husband took us to the train station, and it was overrun with people, all in a panic. We barely made it on the evacuation train.  

 I was sure that the whole world would be on our side and put an end to this war in a couple of weeks.  I couldn’t have been more wrong. 

We spent half a year in Poland while we believed we were waiting for our return home. Once the United States granted permission for us to come under the Uniting for Ukraine Program, we chose to come to the U.S. because it was still too dangerous to return to Ukraine. 

I currently live in the U.S.  with my three children and my mother. We are are living with my cousin and her husband – both are American citizens. Still, my family is broken.  My husband is faraway and my in-laws decided to stay in Zaporizhzhia. It’s hard psychologically, but we’re holding on. Yes, I am a mother first, but I am also a wife.  I am in constant contact with [my husband] though the Internet, but that doesn’t stop my heart from being torn in two. 

The current impact of the war in Ukraine is catastrophic and cruel.  There are missile attacks and daily bombings, and some regions are completely occupied.  There have been thousands of civilian deaths- including children!  This war has shown that we are a brave nation, and we are a people of perseverance. Still, that is not enough. I still want to cry out to the world Please, help us with more weapons!!! Help us survive. They don’t stop!!.”

Upon my arrival to the United States, LSSNCA paved a way for us to get settled.  I am very grateful to the organization and Ms. Mila Lesueur, for her support in helping me complete the needed documentation.  Without her help, my head would be in total chaos because as one can imagine it is very difficult when filling out the necessary information in a new country when you don’t have an understanding of how the system works.

It is my hope that I can help people around the world understand my country.  I want the world to know that Ukraine has a lot of traditions with a lot of outstanding people. 

This past year has been a hard one psychologically, but we are holding on. Ukraine will forever be our home, but we are still grateful to the U.S. government and LSSNCA for help, advice, and support. We believe that we will endure, win, and be able to rebuild our Ukraine.

LSSNCA thanks you for all of your support. Resettling almost 200 Ukrainians in the past year would not have been possible without your help. If you would like to continue supporting our new neighbors, please visit our donate page.

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