‘Just pray that they’re going to be alive’: Southport woman from Ukraine remembers start of Russia-Ukraine war, staying in touch with family still stuck in Ukraine
SOUTHPORT, N.C. (WECT) - Anzhela Christian recounted the scariest moment at the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war — seeing tragedy unfold on the news, and not hearing from her family until three weeks later when she got the message that they were all still alive.
“I was absolutely shocked. And it’s pain. It’s crying,” Christian said.
Christian is from Ukraine. She grew up in Mariupol and moved to the United States in 2014.
She and her husband live in Southport now, but her family was still in Ukraine when they war started.
“My daughter, my grandson eight months [old] and my son-in-law and my sister, my niece 8-years-old, and my nephew, 17-year-old.”
She kept in touch with her family for a few days and then suddenly lost contact on March 2nd last year.
Days went by as the uncertainty made her fear for the worst.
But then, a ray of hope.
“And after three weeks, I get this message ‘we’re alive’,” Christian remembers.
She said her family survived the first bombing because they sheltered in their basement. Christian’s daughter and her family were able to escape and get to Poland a few weeks later, and now they live in New Jersey.
But Christian said her sister and her two kids are still stuck in Ukraine. At one point, they were in a bomb shelter for 60 days with limited food and water. Christian said she wants to help her sister, but there is nothing she can do to help her right now.
Now, Christian is constantly waiting by her phone to hear from her again.
“I say let me know when next time we can talk and that’s it. I message ‘I love you and cannot wait to see you again,’ and I don’t know if I [will] ever see her again,” Christian said. “Just pray that they’re going to be alive, and I can see them again.”
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