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Valley residents from Ukraine worry about family back home as tensions rise with Russia

Ukraine Tensions
Posted at 9:15 PM, Feb 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-22 00:17:32-05

PHOENIX — "It's very painful. Of course,” said Kate Halfwassen.

Kate and Colin Halfwassen are both Ukrainian and proudly wear pride for their country while active in the Valley's Ukrainian community.

"We try to help as much as we can. But, there is only so much we can do,’ added Halfwassen.

Kate says pain overtakes her as she watches news reports of what's happening back home.

Her parents, siblings, and extended family live near the border where the conflict consumes everything.

"Of course, I am afraid for their safety. But, at the same time, I remain hopeful because none of them are willing to escape. They'll stand their ground. They say we are going to fight,” added said Kate Halfwassen.

Kate Halfwassen says she's been in the United States for 16 years. Her son, Colin, is 14. He's only visited family in Ukraine. But, says he still feels the impact as he follows the developments closely.

And as things escalate, it has Colin thinking about the many years of conflict.

"It's kind of stressful to see a country that's been part of you your whole life, really, go to war,” added Colin Halfwassen.

He insists even some of Ukraine's youngest citizens, he knows, are near danger.

“All are really scared one day their parent will have to wake them up and say we have to leave,” added Colin.

Whether Russia is seeking war, or diplomacy, many like Kate say the years of tensions make one thing clear.

"It's a war. It is certainly a war,” added Kate Halfwassen.