Ukrainian immigrant turned Reno local shares what war has been like

Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 11:14 AM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Svitlana Birke is a Ukrainian immigrant who came to Reno back in 2005.

“I did grow up in the Soviet Union and I was there when we got independence from Russia in 1991,” she explained.

Despite having been so close to Russia for so long, she never felt this could happen.

“We didn’t believe that Russia would invade Ukraine until February 24,” she said. “We thought it was propaganda.”

Once it was established that it was not just propaganda, Birke says she heard from a lot of Russian friends – and they are stunned by this. She says she could not believe when the russian troops made their initial attack.

“My peaceful life ended the moment the war in Ukraine started. Hearing from your child saying there is war here, is the most devastating feeling a parent can know,” she remarked.

Her goal has been to check in with her family every night just to make sure they are alive.

Still, Birke says she is inspired by the will of her countrymen and says president Volodymyr Zelenskyy has united the country more than ever before.

“We are fighting for freedom from this nonsense,” she remarked. “It’s unbelievable. Its godless.”

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