North Texans with family in Ukraine closely monitoring Russian invasion of Ukraine

Ukrainian Americans in North Texas are closely watching what's happening with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Many still have family in Ukraine who are trying to move away from the danger, heading west or away from major cities.

"I am trying to wake up from this nightmare, but unfortunately, it's a reality," Marta Petrash, vice president of the Ukrainian American Society of Texas.

Petrash still has family in Ukraine, including her mother who’s trying to move away from any cities to safety.

Ukraine’s health minister said there have been non-combat injuries.

"It’s unjustified, it's barbaric. This bombing of innocent people," Petrash added.

Pictures and video on social media from the capital of Kyiv show frantic crowds of traffic also trying to head to safety after Russian aerial attacks began.

Chrystya Geremesz, who is a founding member of the Ukrainian American Society of Texas, spoke to her family Wednesdsay night to make sure they had supplies in case anything happened. 

"Five minutes after the end of the phone call, I started getting calls and texts about the invasion is now in the text and I couldn't sleep," Geremesz recalled.

Thursday afternoon, President Joe Biden announced heavier sanctions on Russia and its supporters, attempting to hit back financially.

A sign showing the entrance to Ukraine is seen at the Ukraine-Belarus border crossing on February 13, 2022 in Vilcha, Ukraine. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

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"The world needs to stand up to Putin. You can't have an outlaw causing havoc and, you know, invading sovereign territory, invading democratic free countries," Geremesz said.

Ukrainian Americans in Texas said they fear Putin has his sights set beyond Ukraine.

"This is not just the freedom for Ukraine. This is democracy overall in the world order," Geremesz said. "This is being challenged by not only Putin, but it's being also watched by other dictators."

"It's standing up also for the entire Europe and also for the entire world, because, eventually, this will have repercussions on that globally, even on the United States," Petrash said.

As the conflict continues to unfold in Ukraine, those watching from the U.S. are asking for continued support.

"More than anything, we're asking everyone to pray those that that understand that prayer is also very effective when you're dealing with such evil," Geremesz said.

The Ukrainian American Society of Texas is working on coordinating humanitarian efforts through Poland.

They invite people to learn more about what happening through their organization’s website: