RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – As tensions escalate between Ukraine and Russia, some Ukrainians living in Central Virginia said they’re uncertain about what lies ahead.
“Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow,” said Chesterfield resident, Igor Kedrovskyi. “I talk to my friends every day about the situation going on. We worry… we cannot sleep.”
Kedrovskyi has lived in the United States for six years, but grew up in a city less than 50 miles from the Russian border. He says he still has family and friends overseas.
“My friend, he says – we are very calm, but we don’t hesitate to use weapons against the invaders,” he said. “It was a clear future. After Soviet Union fall down, a lot of differences. A lot of problems with the economy. I worry about them.”
He believes the majority of Ukrainians don’t support an invasion.
“I think 70% of Ukrainians want to be independent – looking for Western values,” Kedrovskyi said.
There is a similar message echoing from Wally Melnitchouk, who spent this past weekend in Washington D.C. demonstrating in support of Ukraine. Melnitchouk grew up in Lviv, and now lives in Newport News.
“We share the same values as Americans, basically freedom and liberty.”
He told said that his loved ones are preparing for the worst.
“I think the whole country is in a state of deep anxiety and fear,” he explained.
“At the moment, everything is quiet physically, but there’s a lot of stress and some panic,” Melnitchouk said as he read aloud a text message from a cousin who lives in Ukraine.
“People are buying up supplies from stores from time to time. I’m getting panic attacks, how to sleep at night. My mother has bought up some supplies at a store in case she has to evacuate to the village.”
Kedrovskyi said he’s hoping for peace.
“It can happen for everyone. All of us need to focus on peace. Negotiation.”