US attorney helping refugees in Ukraine

Russia At War

(NewsNation) — Olga Nakonechna is an immigration lawyer based in Chicago but is currently providing humanitarian aid to the Ukrainian community that she once called home.

Nakonechna came to the United States in 2008 as an international student at Northeastern Illinois University. She became a U.S. citizen in 2018. While visiting her parents in Ukraine, the war started, so she decided to stay to help refugees.

She said her son and mother have safely migrated to Warsaw. Other relatives are sheltering in place in Ukraine. Nakonechna says her goal now is to help others.

“As volunteers, we wear many hats. First of all, is informational support. Now, it’s very important to have the correct information when it comes to applying for certain benefits in Poland, crossing the border, getting into different cities, getting housing and transportation,” she said.

She says most of her days consist of coordinating humanitarian aid from the United States and European countries.

Nakonechna described on “Morning in America” her experience driving a family across the Ukraine-Poland border on her first day back home.

“When I was crossing the border, there was family: a husband, his wife, and three children. The children were crying, so was the wife. They had the car to cross the border, but she couldn’t drive, she didn’t have a driver’s license, she said.”

She said due to martial law the husband was not allowed to leave the country so she drove them to Warsaw.

“It was very heartbreaking. There was a lot of uncertainty in their voices. They don’t know what to plan, they don’t know what to hope for,” Nakonechna said.

Nakonechna says most Ukrainians, civilians and refugees, feel uncertain about the future of their homeland.

As for her family in Ukraine, she hopes they’re safe.

“I hope they’re safe. I hope, but we never know,” she said.

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