RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Growing tensions along Ukraine’s border with Russia has United States’ leaders anticipating an attack and invasion.
While half a world away, Ukrainian Americans and immigrant families across North Carolina say the conflict hits too close to home as they worry for loved ones overseas.
Olena Kozlova-Pates created the group, Ukrainians in the Carolinas.
She said the community has tried to rally around each other during this tense time.
“It seems so much closer now,” Kozlova-Pates said. “I think it is a different feeling right now than it was even three weeks ago.”
Friday, President Joe Biden warned of potential Russian military action in coming days but said diplomacy is still on the table.
For families like the Pates, they’re hoping for the latter, not just for their loved ones still in Ukraine but their children.
“We have two children and they’ve been to Ukraine multiple times and they worry about when they’re going to see their grandparents again,” husband Jason Pates said. “They worry about even the opportunity to go back to Ukraine again and all of those things are up in the air. And for what?”
The current Russian conflict with Ukraine has lasted for eight years. Anna Sabatini said it has separated her family across geopolitical lines.
“Family has been torn apart, basically,” Sabatini said. “I will do my best to support but I’m feeling sort of useless at this point because there’s not much you can do. The only thing that I can do is tell everyone what is happening.”
Between 5,000 Fort Bragg soldiers being deployed to Europe, to kind words from neighbors, Kozlova-Pates said she’s grateful for how North Carolinians have stepped up to support their community.
“I’m wearing my Ukrainian sweatshirt walking around my neighborhood and a neighbor who I don’t even know comes to me and says ‘I’m praying for Ukraine’,” Kozlova-Pates said.