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Coloradans fear for their families in Ukraine as turmoil continues during invasion

Coloradans fear for their families in Ukraine as turmoil continues during invasion
Posted at 6:05 PM, Feb 25, 2022

DENVER — As more nations impose sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin, tensions have continued in Ukraine's capital, leaving many Coloradans fearing for their families still there.

"I have my mom and my dad over there in Kyiv," Westminster resident Yana Kurenko said.

Several miles away from her family, more than 130 Ukrainian casualties have been reported amid the invasion.

"I'm talking to my parents every hour," Kurenko said. "I'm really scared."

She didn't share family photos out of fear for their safety. In fact, hours before the interview, she was planning her parents' escape.

"I tried to send my parents to Poland just like today, probably like five hours ago, but my mom ... almost had a heart attack last night so she's not able to travel," Kurenko said.

Kurenko says the feeling of helplessness is worse than the fear.

"What am I supposed to do from here?" she asked.

The uncertainty of tomorrow is also felt in areas outside of Kyiv. Aurora resident Olena Myronenko's family lives in the Ivano-Frankivsk region.

"They cannot live normal life and ... go to work. Their new normal is watching news and listening for sirens, like today they had a siren going off ... and they ran to the basement," Myronenko said. "Nowadays, you do know if it's just training sirens or really something happening. It's really scary for them."

While many are fleeing from all parts of Ukraine, Myronenko's family has decided to stay, at least for now.

"All their life, they work really hard. They have a house there. They have a little restaurant there. So that's all they have in this life," Myronenko said.

For many Ukrainians, independence has always seemed fragile. The last 48 hours has proven to be the sum of all their worst fears.