PHOENIX — Waking up to airstrike alerts, taking cover, and fearing for their lives. That’s what people living in Kyiv and Zaporizhzhia say is the reality in Ukraine, as the hostility there continues to escalate.
Now, there are many reports of Russian troops showing little to no restraint for civilian lives.
“Kyiv is being bombarded every day. Almost every half an hour we have air attack alerts, so we go to shelters,” said Volodymr Dzhydzhora.
Dzhydzhora is the Deputy Commissioner for the Ukrainian Parliament Commission of Human Rights. He is currently taking cover, as gunfire and violence surround him in Kyiv.
“We are here protecting western democratic values,” he told ABC15.
Dzhydzhora says he hopes NATO accepts Ukraine as part of the alliance. It's a move western leaders fear would expand the war beyond Ukraine's borders.
Though Dzhydzhora says they’re ready to fight Russian troops, regardless.
“Our guns…” he said while showing ABC15 his weapon.
He says Russian war crimes continue piling up.
“Like killing women, children, elderly. Destroying civilian infrastructure. They are murderers. They are killers. They are invaders, so either you kill them, or they will kill you, and that’s it.”
Melissa and Konstantin Lukashevich told ABC5, Thursday night, their family in Ukraine is seeing this first-hand.
“They were killing them. Russian troops were killing them,” she said in tears.
She says her sister-in-law in Ukraine, who lives near the nuclear plant in Zaporizhzhia, called to say goodbye.
“So, she’s like, ‘I can’t leave, I can’t leave, and they bombed the nuclear plant so if I leave, they’re going to kill me and if I stay here, I’m going to die,” said Melissa.
“They’re just killing everybody. Their only goal now is complete surrender or destruction,” added Konstantin with a somber tone.
Konstantin says he wishes he could do more, feeling helpless and defeated.
“A lot of these talks of sending relief and money and stuff like that are futile,” said Konstantin.
The Lukashevich family says, as more time goes by, it gets harder and harder to get in contact with loved ones.
“Can’t get ahold of anybody so we’re like thinking the worst right now,” Melissa said while sobbing.
“Yeah, it’s very heartbreaking. I don’t know what to think,” said Konstantin.
As the war rages on, Dzhydzhora tells ABC15, if it comes to it, he is ready to die for his country.
“Freedom comes with a cost, so this is our cost,” he said.