Chesterfield County, Virginia (WRIC) – While the conflict in Ukraine may seem far removed from Central Virginia, locals with the families of the country in battle are constantly watching to see what happens next.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine reported that just four days after the Russian invasion, 352 civilians were killed, including 14 children, according to the Associated Press. Another 1,684 people, including 116 children, were injured.
A Sunday statement from the ministry did not provide information on casualties among Ukraine’s armed forces.
The Chernodolsky family in Midlatian told 8News that they still have a family in this Eastern European country.
“My sister was in close contact with a family that was in Kiev, and they fled to Lviv in western Ukraine,” said Vladimir Chernadolsky. “My cousin has actually come back to see how he can help and support. So we are watching closely. At this point, our latest information was that they are safe. But this is an environment that is constantly changing. “
Vladimir said his grandparents immigrated to the United States from Ukraine after World War II.
“They landed in New York and Baltimore and had to create a new life for themselves here in the United States,” he said. “They fled for many reasons, for which the people of Ukraine are now fighting: freedom, independence, Russia’s invasion of a sovereign country. They came with one suitcase each, and [we are] watching people now cross the border into Poland, Romania, fleeing with one suitcase and coat on their backs with children and families fleeing Russia ”.
Chernodolsky recently took part in a pro-Ukrainian rally in Washington, DC. They said they expect such events to continue in the next few weeks.
“It was amazing to see everyone around us carrying flags of freedom in support of our identity and our people, and it’s a struggle for something that is extremely important and widespread, and worth every ounce of support it gets, and more,” said the daughter. Sonya. “I think seeing everyone there was an extremely important and really wonderful experience, although it’s a struggle with something bad.”
Sonya’s mother, Veronica, also has Ukrainian ancestors.
“Even though people here in Richmond think it’s far, it’s on our doorstep in a way that we could feel because [President Vladimir Putin’s] rage against western freedoms, which means America and everything we stand for as Americans, ”she said. “That’s what we all need to keep an eye on and focus on.”
Chernodolsky said they were impressed by the outpouring of support for the Ukrainian people, and hoped that people would continue to speak out against Putin’s actions.
“The anthem of Ukraine begins with the word” Ukraine is not dead and glory and freedom, “- said Vladimir. “Ukraine is not dead yet, Ukraine will rise, Ukraine will come again, and we will continue to fight and support here in the United States, in Europe and around the world.”
“The fourth day of this terrible situation,” – said Vladimir. “I think it will be a long way of war for the people of Ukraine, but an even longer recovery for many, many years.”