Ukrainians in Harrisonburg speak about impacts of the war 1 year later

Local Ukrainians discuss war impacts 1 year later.
Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 11:43 PM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -It’s been over a year since the war in Ukraine began.

On Thursday, native Ukrainians living in Harrisonburg shared how the war has impacted them as many of their loved ones remain in their home country.

“One of the worst years of my life,” Nicole Yurcaba, a high-school guidance counselor from Ukraine said.

For the people who spoke to WHSV, the war is a harsh reality that is still raw.

Aliona Lagoda is a local ER nurse. She said she still remembers the exact moment the news broke.

“I was doing my clinicals in the Middle River Jail when I read the news,” she recalled. “We weren’t allowed phones there in the jail, so half the day was spent not knowing what was going on and if my family was alive.”

As the war continues, the horror of not knowing what’s next keeps their loved ones still in Ukraine at the forefront of their minds.

“[Russia] launched three wing missiles. It was a mile and a half from where I grew up; 23 people were right away killed. First thought that came into my head. How about my relatives?” Andriy Bogachuk said.

He added after the attack, he was not able to get in contact with them, a concept that each person said they have struggled with throughout the past year.

For the families that still remain in Ukraine, life on the ground is a usual experience, as some have had to go without electricity, hot warm, and other common essentials during cold, winter months.

“We have two hours in the day that we have to fit everything in. Everything we used to do in the day we compact it in two hours because we’ll have two hours of light and electricity,” Bogachuk recalled his mother saying on a phone call.

“In the beginning, it was a horror,” Lagoda added. “In the beginning, if the siren goes on you have to run and hide because you don’t know where it’s gonna land.” She said, now, her family has “gotten used to it”.

Despite the hardships, families that remain in Ukraine understand the importance of staying around and helping out where they can.

“They said ‘no we are not going to be refugees. We are needed here. It doesn’t matter if they’re not n the front line. They are in the war,” Mike Kavchak said about members of his family.

Another heartbreaking aspect of the war is its impact on children.

“They shouldn’t know what caliber of bullet is supposed to go in what weapon. They shouldn’t know models of tanks and missiles and war equipment, but our kids, they know now.”

Ukrainians said they are grateful for the support of the people and the government, but more is needed to defeat Russia, which they say is a win for more than Ukraine.

“Ukrainians are fighting not only for Ukraine. Ukrainians are fighting for the rest of the world,” Alex Reut said.

They ask people to remember that the war is still happening and to educate themselves on Ukraine and its culture and be aware of propaganda.

You can also support some of the organizations those in attendance are a part of like the Slavic Christian Church, Come Back Alive, Razom, and Good Bread for Good People.