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Tempe man worries as his wife flees Ukraine during Russian invasion

Posted at 10:13 PM, Feb 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-26 19:31:41-05

TEMPE, AZ — As the Russian invasion of Ukraine plays out, a man from the Valley is desperate to get his wife out of Ukraine.

"I just want her to come back here as quickly as possible,” said Gaston Jones.

ABC15 spoke with the couple who is now 6,000 miles apart.

"Deep down inside, I thought this was not going to happen,” added Jones.

Jones says he expected Russian President Vladimir Putin to give empty threats to get what he wanted.

"It's hard to comprehend what is really happening because here they are saying certain things and over there they are experiencing and saying other things,” added Jones.

The Tempe resident says the 'not-knowing' is worst of all.

His wife, Tetiana Polishko, does know.

"Because we woke up to explosions this morning. It was no joke anymore,’ said Polishko.

Polishko, who lives with her husband here in the Valley, flew to Ukraine in early February to visit her parents.

"I felt like something might go wrong. Of course, the tension in the news was rising. So, we had to do something,” added Polishko.

And, it did.

"We have to be really cautious because we saw multiple military planes and helicopters,” added Polishko.

Polishko shared video of what she witnessed during her drive of more than 20 hours from the middle of the conflict.

"We have to cross the border first because it is really not safe to fly commercially anymore from Ukraine. I am not even sure we have airports left,” added Polishko.

While Polishko might have looked calm during the interview, she told me her anxiety was high and it was a struggle to stay focused. As for how the couple is doing thousands of miles apart?

"It's already a horrible feeling to be in a situation like that. But, it is even worse when you know when someone is worried sick about you,” added Polishko.

"Not good! I feel like I have no control. It sucks,” added Jones.

ABC15 spoke to Polishko Saturday, she says she was able to make it out of Ukraine and into Moldova alongside her parents.

Polishko says she will be taking a bus to Romania on Sunday and hopes to make it back to the Valley early next week.