Ukrainian immigrant speaks out against Russian invasion

NOW: Ukrainian immigrant speaks out against Russian invasion


MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- “We will try our best, but I’m not really optimistic about what will happen to Ukraine in a couple days," Halyna Yashan said over a Zoom call. 

Yashan moved to America with her husband and children almost ten years ago, before Russian aggression toward Ukraine began to escalate.

The Crimean Peninsula was invaded an annexed in 2014 and fighting between the two continued off and on over the years-- and Yashan knew it was going to get worse. 

“I kind of, like, understood from the beginning that they will not leave us alone. They will try to take some parts of Ukraine," she said. "However, I did not expect them to try and take the whole of Ukraine.”

Fighting throughout the country has been fierce. Russian troops so far have seized several airports-- and the Chernobyl nuclear power plant-- and are currently targeting the capitol city of Kyiv. 

Yashan fears the country will not be able to hold on without help from other nations, and worries for the friends and family she still has living in Ukraine-- who don't plan on running. 

“They all understand how important it is to defend their families and their houses," she said. "It’s hard.”

Despite the dire situation, Ukrainian soldiers have been fighting back-- and many citizens are taking up arms. 

Yashan said “Yesterday’s shock grew into confidence in Ukraine’s army. 18,000 people got small arms; they are going to fight. It will not be easy for the Russian Federation to take Kyiv so easily.”

Some reports say the Russian invasion has not met many of its early goals due to heavy resistance, which gives Yashan some small hope. 

“Yesterday I was hopeless. I was just crying and I couldn’t find the way how we were going to end up out of this," she said. "But today, seeing all of these Ukrainian heroes who will give their lives for Ukraine, I understand that we can do it. This is a democracy. This is for what we are fighting, and we will never stop.”

However, Yashan knows that Ukraine will continue to need military aid, and hopes that the United States and other nations will enforce harsher sanctions to show their disapproval of the invasion. 

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