MIAMI (NewsNation) — More than 3 million Ukrainians have fled their homeland to escape Russia’s brutal invasion. Some of their harrowing journeys have included treks across ice-capped fields in imminent danger.
Victoria is a Ukrainian mother who braved a desolate landscape in hopes of finding safety for her young child. Her journey is like those of so many Ukrainians who have been displaced since the invasion started on Feb. 24.
Victoria said it took her four days to get to Miami. The most challenging part was walking 15 miles in freezing temperatures, carrying her 10-month-old daughter, and pulling a suitcase filled with the items she was able to quickly grab.
“You think only to save your life and life for children. And you don’t have time; you don’t think about what you can, what you must do. Oh, I must take some passport, some money, and that’s all,” she explained.
Like many other families, Victoria left her husband and stepsons behind. Her husband stayed to help fight off the Russians and protect their family as bombs are destroying the communities around them.
Their family is now separated with no end in sight. And while Victoria and Anna are safe in South Florida, their hearts are broken for everyone and everything they left behind.
“Houses in my street in Kyiv are destroyed. Like 20 meters of my house destroyed, nothing,” Victoria said.
Victoria said she is a proud Ukrainian who’s praying for her country and waiting eagerly to get back home.
“I cry, but I hope that I see my family very soon,” she said. “I hope that Russians are stopped.”
Victoria said she’s very grateful that she is safe and alive and that her baby is OK. But she said she also feels very guilty because so many of the people she knows, her friends and her family, are still in a very dangerous situation.
She also said that many of the people she knows didn’t have their passports on them when the bombing started, so they could not leave the country, and they felt like they couldn’t go anywhere.