Central Florida woman awaiting updates on family in Ukraine

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Kateryna, who doesn’t want to use her last name for privacy reasons, is trying to catch her breath after weeks of waiting by the phone.


The family is from Chernihiv, near the Russia border. Her parents and brother were still there when the war began.

“I would be waiting for the message, ‘We’re alive,’” Kateryna said. “I would talk apouliswith my father on the phone and he would say, ‘OK, I need to go hide in the hallway.”

READ: Brevard County nonprofit working to get water purifiers to Ukraine

She said her parents didn’t want to leave at first, because her brother has muscular dystrophy.

But eventually, Kateryna said they no longer had a choice.

“At 5 a.m., my brother texted me that they’re driving,” she said. “At that moment, I stopped breathing because I know that area is so dangerous.”

READ: Central Florida-based team evacuates thousands from Ukraine

She said there was a missile strike while they were trying to get out, but they somehow made it to another city in Ukraine.

Still, they’re not out of the woods yet.

“They have nowhere to live, nowhere to go,” Kateryna said. “Random people we’ve never seen (who) they met on their way, they gave them a little room for a few days.”

READ: Local ballet company threatened after Russian invasion raises more than $100K for Ukraine

Kateryna said she is continuing to wait by the phone, just to hear their voices and make sure they have food, water and shelter.

President Joe Biden is gearing up for a summit with all 30 NATO leaders in the hopes of de-escalating the ongoing war in Ukraine.

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.

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