Just a week ago, news broke that Russia invaded Ukraine. The news meant something more to Ukrainian BYU-Idaho students Elizabeth Oveshkova, Maryna Romriell, Olha Kovalova and Masha Parkhomenko.   

Romriell’s family lives in Kiev. When she saw friends from home post on Facebook that they were hearing explosions she panicked. Now she talks to them every night to make sure they are still safe, and checks the news in the morning hoping not to see her home address.

  “When I wake up the first thing I do- I check messenger, I check the news,” Romriell said. “I know some apartment buildings have been bombed and they will provide actual addresses … so I guess I’m just expecting not to see my home address there.”  

Parkhomenko’s family lives in Kiev as well. When she heard the news of bombing in Ukraine, she called her family. It was 5 a.m. in Ukraine, and Parkhomenko’s call woke up her family. They could hear noises, but were still confused. In a panic, they left for the west of Ukraine. After leaving Kiev, Parkhomenko’s family wanted to help. Her father enlisted in the army, and her mother is looking to donate blood.  

“As part of a Ukrainian family, Ukrainian nation, I long to be there. I wouldn’t’ just be sitting and hiding away. I know myself,” Parkhomenko said. “I have the spirit for freedom, I would be fighting there.”  

Oveshkova, whose family is also still in Ukraine, feels anxious for their safety.  

“That’s when you call mom and if she’s not answering from the first time, you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh did something already happen?’” Oveshkova said.  

Kovalova feels a sense of guilt by being in the U.S. 

“I do feel this, this attachment about how I should be there. I should be home, I should be helping,” Kovalova said. “It comes with a certain guilt of the fact that I’m here safe and comfortable.”  

The students encourage those who want to help to spread the word with reliable sources and donate to causes such as the army through the national bank and other humanitarian resources. They have created a series of links with information and ways to support Ukraine. You can access the links at linkr.bio/standwithukraine 

The students feel proud of their country and the citizens who are fighting to protect their freedom.  

“Everybody will know that we love our country, and we will fight for it until like literally the last man standing,” said Romriell.