PEORIA, AZ — A Ukrainian couple has been tirelessly trying to make it safely to their family in Peoria, Arizona.
Traveling by foot, car, and air, the couple traveled to seek refuge here in the Valley and have arrived safely.
“It’s our flag, it is our soul,” said Larysa. “We are happy to see it here. it is unbelievable.”
Stitched with blue and yellow, held high among a sea of people arriving at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, Larysa and Vyacheslav were greeted with an inseparable grip by their son-in-law.
“It was very long way to here because it takes seven days,” says Larysa.
Last Thursday, Larysa and Vyacheslav made the difficult decision to flee their home in Kyiv, Ukraine, after a missile landed above their home.
“The missiles started firing back and forth out of nowhere,” their daughter Yuliya Zhosan said.
Zhosan helped her parents escape.
“My parents had to spend a few nights hiding in the basement or whatever without food, any means of communication, and we’re losing our minds over here,” Zhosan said.
Her parents first left Ukraine by car, driving for two days and having to find shelter before curfew.
“They got lucky,” said Zhosan. “They spent the night at some random person's home and then the next day they were driving again and ran out of gas.”
The couple then had to walk into Poland’s border in below freezing conditions.
“It was 16 hours without water, without sleeping,” Zhosan said.
“I’ll never forget that this is just something my parents experienced, and their grandparents experienced during this Second World War, so this is no words can describe,” Zhosan said.
While they survived a war, they now live with the trauma in the United States.
“We are here but we think about Ukraine again. Nothing else. And now we are here and so we are happy. We survived,” Larysa said.
This couple, like many, left with the clothes on their backs and only a suitcase full of their belongings. The family has created a GoFundMe if you would like to help.