As war rages in Ukraine, Albertans are getting a closer look at what that means for the people living there and how family members in North America are coping with the dangerous situations their loved ones are in.
Anna Reva’s sister and her family fled their Kyiv home and now live in a bunker, they can’t help but listen to airstrikes targeting their city.
“I was taking to my sister just an hour and half ago, she sent me a text that a threat of an air attack as well, they ordered everybody to go hide in the bunkers,” Reva, who is from Ukraine but now lives in Edmonton, said on Friday.
Reva said her sister’s family can’t go above ground.
“It is dangerous because they can hear sirens, they can hear shots, they can hear shelling, they can hear sounds of explosions,” Reva said.
Olga Renneberg is in a similar situation. Her mom is also in Kyiv and is forced to stay in a bomb shelter.
“Right now she is in such place with lots of other neighbours from our apartment building and surrounding buildings,” Olga Renneberg ,who is also from Ukraine but now lives in Alberta, said.
Renneberg said she fears for her moms safety, but hopes Ukrainian forces will be able to stand their ground and wants more help from the international community.
‘I’m feeling lost, I’m feeling scared, I’m feeling helpless, I want to cry but can’t because if I cry, my mom will cry. So we both need to stand strong,” Renneberg said.
There are many people feeling just like Renneberg and are turning to local churches such as Edmonton’s Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of St. John the Baptist for solace.
“They’re hurting and they are coming here with that hurt because it comes to a point where its not bearable,” Father Cornell Zubritsky said.
Father Zubritsky said they’ve had to extend hours and will be offering more support.
‘We have no other choice right now to respond with the weapons we have, and that’s care, compassion, access to prayer.”
A help Zubritsky said will likely need to stay for a while, as he believes this war and the pain it creates around the world, is far from over.