Ukrainians in Hawaii mobilize to help relatives sitting in bomb shelters or fleeing the violence

As the Russian invasion stretches into day seven, it’s heartbreaking to watch especially for Ukrainians here in Hawaii feeling helpless so far away.
Published: Mar. 1, 2022 at 11:00 PM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the Russian invasion of Ukraine stretches into day seven, it has been heartbreaking to watch — especially for Ukrainians in the islands.

Anna Velykodna, who lives on Oahu’s North Shore, said her grandmother in Ukraine is alone in their family’s bomb shelter located about 15 miles outside of Kiev, where Velykodna grew up.

“It’s my hometown that I can’t recognize any more,” said Velykodna. “Like all of the streets are just destroyed, all the bridges are destroyed. You can’t get out of the city, you can’t get in.”

Velykodna moved to Oahu with her boyfriend three years ago.

On Wednesday, she is leaving for Spain where her parents and siblings went to avoid the war.

Ever since the violence began, she has been anxious to help.

“It’s been literally five days of sitting on the couch, on the phones trying to organize donations, humanitarian aid,” Velykodna said.

Avrora Gunko is also anxious. She left Ukraine in 2016 seeking political asylum.

Her family is also in a bomb shelter.

“They are super-tired because. It’s been six days and they are in real danger,’ said Gunko. “Thank God they (are) still alive but they already don’t have enough of food and water.”

While international leaders focus on ending the war, Hawaii residents are trying to show their support.

The next rally for Ukraine is on Friday at the state Capitol building. And starting on Tuesday, Honolulu Hale will be lit up in Ukraine’s colors of blue and yellow.

They’re small signs of aloha for those living through the nightmare 8,000 miles away.

“Ukrainians need help right now more than ever,” said Gunko.

Added Velykodna: “But people are helping all around the world, and every country almost in the world is uniting for Ukraine against Russia.”

For more info on how you can help support Ukraine, click here.

Copyright 2022 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.