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'God, if you want me to die right now, I'm ready' | Ukrainian reflects as war nears 1 year

One Ukrainian woman's journey took from her home to Mexico, San Diego and eventually to Sacramento.

SACRAMENTO COUNTY, Calif. — Friday marks one year since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine

In honor of the lives lost and in solidarity of those still suffering, local Ukrainians and their allies will gather at the state Capitol building in Sacramento Friday night.

Vlad Skots, chairman and founder of Sacramento-based Ukrainian American House, said Friday's rally isn't one of celebration because the war is still going on. Families are still separated, and people are still dying.

"On this day across the globe in multiple cities around the globe, people will gather together to to show their support to Ukraine and to show their solidarity. And of course, remember those who gave their life for this... fight for freedom and democracy," said Skots.

He said Ukraine will never up and that the Ukrainian people will fight for their freedom. The war is one some Ukrainians said they wouldn't have survived with American help. 

"We are very grateful to American people... if with no American support, Ukraine would fail," said Skots.

Memories of home are still fresh for Ukrainians who came to Sacramento to flee the war. A local woman, Olga Bulda, escaped with her friend to Mexico then crossed the border from San Diego to Sacramento.

Before that perilous journey, she first faced a harrowing experience just to leave her country.

 "The only way for me to leave was by train, and there were like lots of people. I saw this fear in people's eyes, like when a siren is going on. It took me three trains and almost 36 hours," said Olga Bulda, of Ukraine.

She has vivid memories of where she was when the war started and what happened next.  

"I was sleeping, it was in the morning. I received a call from one of my friends and she was freaking out. I had time to pray. After that I was calm, I didn't freak out or anything," said Bulda. "I just accepted and said, 'God, if you want me to die right now, I'm ready.'"

For Bulda and Ukrainians at home and abroad, Feb. 24, 2022 signifies a major turning point in their lives.

At the one year mark since the start of the Russian invasion, they remember how far they've come and what might lie ahead. 

"Say no to war, say no to genocide of Ukrainian people, say stop to Russian aggression in Ukraine. Because this war, it's a challenge, not only for Ukraine - to whole civilized world. It's test for NATO. It's test for a Europe. It's test for United States, how you respond on this Russian crime and this invasion," said Skots.

In Sacramento, the rally at the Capitol building will be hosted by Ukrainian American House and the Consulate General of Ukraine starts at 6 p.m.


Ukraine-Russia Latest: 1 year since Russia invaded

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