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Southwest Florida woman born in Ukraine waits to hear back from family and friends

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Posted at 7:30 PM, Mar 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-03 07:30:03-05

COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. — Here in Florida we live in the sunshine state thousands and thousands of miles away from Ukraine but we have neighbors here among us who are from the distressed region.

One Southwest Florida woman who was born in Ukraine says her brother traveled to the country a month ago and has spent five days in a bomb shelter for safety.

She keeps her phone close by these last few days in hopes of hearing from her brother and the rest of her loved ones at home in Ukraine.

"It's hard, it's really hard," said Olesya Karakosta. "I see my town like my neighborhoods burning I see my town burning to the ground."

It's now going on six days of terror for people in Ukraine.

"I think you know it's hard for people in the world to relate to that and obviously it's close to my heart because I see the streets that I walked and the school that I went to blow up and burning to the ground people that I know struggling their life depends on every minute," said Olesya.

Olesya moved to the United States when she was 19, but keeps in touch with family and friends back home in Ukraine.

"He's scared; everyone's scared."

Olesya says her brother Vadim didn't leave sooner because, like many, he didn't think an invasion would actually happen.

"I was saying, like, listen, they are getting troops out there; maybe you should leave. He's like, 'come on, it's never going to happen.' My aunt, I was talking to her she said the same thing. But Putin is not there to be a neighbor... he's there is to take the territory; that's why they are bombing everything."

She says her brother sent her videos of the bombing he and many Ukranians are now experiencing.

"It's all night long for them. All day, all night. People that I know and love there still there. It's heartbreaking."

Olesya says her brother left the bomb shelter, which is more like a basement, and the last she heard is that he was trying to catch a train.

"He boarded the train to Lviv trying to get to the Poland border of Ukraine and Poland and hopefully cross it because he has an American passport. There's no reason to believe they're going to hold him back, but there's no guarantee," she said. "There's nowhere to go, there are no roads. They blew up all the roads, I mean the train is the only way out.

"There's just so many people I love and care [for]. I spent half my life there; they don't have the privilege, they don't have passports. They are starting to starve they are running out of food."

She feels in some way helpless as she's tried asking her family and friends what they need or what she can do to help. She says her utmost respect goes to those who continue to fight to keep their land including President Zelenskyy.

"When you take everything away from people, they'll fight. It's a whole different world.

"The blood of innocent people... yes, it's going to be on Putin, but also on others who stood by. There are countries right there who could do something and WWII taught us next it's going to be you."

Olesya says her friends ask that we share these stories on social media so people can really understand what's going on.

WATCH: Raw Interview Olesya Karakosta

UNCUT: SWFL woman born in Ukraine waits for answers