Ukrainians in San Diego Worry for Family's Safety Back Home

NBC Universal, Inc.

Nadia and Askold Haywas hung on President Joe Biden’s every word Tuesday as he outlined what the U.S. plans to do to respond to Russia’s threat to invade Ukraine.

The couple has family members still living in Ukraine and visits as often as possible.

"We are feeling so helpless," said Nadia, who told NBC 7 the President’s plan to impose financial sanctions and send extra U.S. troops to the region give her hope. "But I’d like to see more,” she added, explaining that Russian troops have been pushing into the region for the past several years.

"We are so stressed," Nadia said as her voice shook. "We are constantly battling with technology, and reviewing our sources, and checking our sources and trying to speak with as many people in Ukraine as we can, as many Ukrainian-American organizations  as we can, and hoping and praying that everyone that we know in Ukraine, and everyone we don’t know, but we still love, are safe."

Nadia’s husband, Askold Haywas, left Ukraine in his father’s arms near the end of World War II. His mother was in a Nazi concentration camp. Even though he was only 2 years old, he knows what’s at stake now.

"I’m afraid they will have to experience it again," he said of relatives like his 85-year old cousin, who lives in Kyiv.

The couple says they wish there was something they could do to help.

They write letters of support and they ask about sending money. Nadia told NBC 7, “Up to this point everyone says don’t because it probably won’t get here.”

The couple is comforted by the Ukrainians’ willingness to stay and fight for the country they love. "They will fight to the death,” said Nadia. "They will not give up."

They hope it doesn’t come to that.

Contact Us