PHOENIX - As the war rages on in Ukraine as Russian troops invade, hundreds of thousands of people have fled the country, but some have also stayed, and Ukrainians in Arizona are sharing the worries they have for their loved ones. One even shared the story of her escape from the country.
Arizona woman with Ukrainian parents waiting to hear from family
Alla Beauchamp's parents, both of whom are visiting Arizona from Ukraine, are feeling the impact of the war, as they still have several family members over in Ukraine.
"Very worried, because we have our family there," said Lyudmyla Klymchuk. "It is just very scary."
These days, Beauchamp, who lives in Peoria, is anxiously waiting for news of her relatives.
"We just call family, make sure they are still OK, alive," said Beauchamp. "It is just horrible."
Beauchamp's parents were supposed to return to Ukraine in May, and Beauchamp is thankful they are at least safe in the U.S.
However, Beauchamp has other family members in Kyiv - they have since fled to the suburbs. She also says her sister in Odessa has seen bombings in her area.
"Some families are from Bucha, on the north from Kyiv, They had also very heavy battles. It's basically destroyed. Lots of buildings just burnt to the ground," said Beauchamp.
"The devastation there, we just never thought it would happen," said Klymchuk.
Beauchamp says it is a helpless feeling to be in the U.S and not being there to help those stuck in Ukraine.
"In Arizona, I can't do much," said Beauchamp. "I did a demonstration, trying to help just send money, humanitarian help."
She says that her people are not giving up, and that gives her hopes.
"Every person is standing in Ukraine. Every old people, young people. They get out with the flags," said Beauchamp. "We don't want to fight. We want peace. We want our country. You have to leave."
Beauchamp's parents say they really don't know when they will be able to get home.
Woman was visiting Ukraine when war broke out
An Arizona woman was visiting family in Ukraine and has been desperately trying to come home. Now on March 1, she's finally arriving back in Phoenix.
"Very happy that I made it back and finally see you," said Tetiana Polishko to her husband, Gaston Jones.
Polishko had a harrowing journey getting back to the U.S. FOX 10 first spoke with Jones days ago, who recounted how worried he was for his wife's safety.
Polishko is originally from Ukraine, and her entire family still lives in the country. She was vacationing when the war broke out, and Jones said while they are used to Ukraine getting threats, they never thought this one would actually break out into war as quickly as it did.
"I sincerely thought it was never going to amount to anything I thought it was just going to be empty threats and everybody was going to remain diplomatic and you know try to negotiate or threaten or use pressure in another way not violence."
Polishko jumped in a car with her mother and father, driving more than 20 hours to Moldova. Once there, she stayed with this family, but her parents stayed behind in Ukraine as her father wa not allowed to cross: as of March 1, the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine is banning men ages 18 to 60 from leaving the country and is asking anyone to step forward to help fight.
Polishko said it was hard to leave them behind.
"They don’t want to leave. It’s their home. They say we don’t want to go anywhere, it’s our country, and if we leave, who will stay? There will be nobody to protect the country."
As Polishko left Ukraine, she described seeing military planes and hearing sirens go off. After getting to Moldova, she got a bus to Romania, and eventually a three-leg flight back to Phoenix.
- What should you do in case of a nuclear explosion? U.S. government updates guidance
- Ukraine crisis: How you can help UNICEF, Project HOPE, and GlobalGiving
- Ukrainian President Zelenskyy's powerful speech moves translator to tears