‘I woke up and realized war has started’ Ukrainian woman shares story of fleeing war-torn country

Published: Mar. 11, 2022 at 8:36 PM EST
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PITT COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - Kate Ker and her sister Svitlana Kosolapova grew up in Ukraine.

Ker left the eastern European country eleven years ago to come to the United States, but Kosolapova stayed to work in her local theater.

When Russia invaded Ukraine, everything changed for Kosolapova and her coworkers and they fled to Poland.

Kosolapova didn’t believe Russia would invade Ukraine until early one morning, something was different.

“I woke up and heard four or five bombings... and I thought it was something that was normal and I’ll go back to sleep,” Kosolapova said.

“Then I heard a few more loud bombings and I woke up and realized war has started.”

Svitlana Kosolapova

Kosolapova said she immediately got all of her documents together and called her friends and family to wake them up.

Ker was scared because she couldn’t physically be there for her family.

“It’s going on in our homeland and we are not able to help. Somehow, we just can help with donations or support,” Ker said.

Kosolapova and her friends didn’t know how long the Russian bombing would last, so they quickly ran to a bomb shelter.

Once they realized it was safe to leave, they had to find a way to get out of the country.

Kosolapova doesn’t know if she will ever go back.

“In Poland... it’s a country of free children or maybe I will go to another European country,” she said.

Kosolapova praises Ukrainian supporters and those fighting for her country.

“Thankful for your support, for everybody who helped Ukraine. I am proud of Ukrainian people who defend our Ukraine all day and all night,” Kosolapova said.

Kosolapova said that she loves to see supporters of Ukraine showing sunflowers because it is her country’s flower.

Muscle Maker Grill in Greenville partnered with Ker to give a percentage of its revenue from Thursday and Friday to Ukrainians.

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