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Ukrainian woman details horrors of escaping country

Posted at 10:50 PM, May 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-08 01:50:23-04

A Ukrainian woman described her harrowing escape from her home country to Phoenix.

Ludmilla Timoshenko lived in the Valley for years before going back overseas, but now she tells ABC15 it’s a miracle she’s still alive.

Timoshenko said before the war, at 68-years-old, she had everything.

She went back to Ukraine after her mom passed away, and Timoshenko and her brother inherited the home.

She expected to spend the rest of her life there with her pets, until the war started.

Just outside her kitchen window in Borodyanka, about 30 miles outside the capitol Kyiv, Timoshenko watched the tanks roll in late February.

“I cannot even tell you what horror it is to hear these explosive and this shooting," said Timoshenko.

She said Russian tanks destroyed her home, trapping her inside.

Timoshenko was only able to grab her purse and run for her life. In those moments, she had to make the tough decision to leave her cats behind.

“I couldn’t save them becasue there was a fire, and I say to my cats 'run'," said Timoshenko.

"Then this purse and me in sleepers, short sleeve t-shirt when its minus five outside," said Timoshenko. "I was standing and looking at the house burning. So, it’s a miracle I’m alive."

She and her brother took shelter in someone’s nearby basement, but eventually Timoshenko decided to try and run. She was forced to say goodbye to her brother who wouldn’t leave.

With tanks on the street, she said she and a few other women left before the sun was up.

"So early in the morning when it was dark we were crawling across the street to my neighbors yard and then through the yard there were cemetaries, and we were running like crazy to escape," said Timoshenko.

With help from her daughter in Canada and people in Ukraine, she eventually made it to Poland. Timoshenko said refugees had to stand in lines for up to 10 hours trying to make it to safety.

"I was completely set for my old age," said Timoshenko.

Now all she has is the purse she grabbed as she ran out of her home.

Sitting with ABC15 she begged for help for her country and said civilians, even kids, are dying.

"It's unforgiveable," said Timoshenko. "It's unforgettable."

Safe now and staying with relatives in the Valley, she wants Americans to hear the horrors from a witness.

"I want Americans to know it happened, and it's still happening.”’

Timoshenko's brother is still alive, but he has lost some of his hearing and vision.

She hopes to, one day, be able to return home again.