KENOSHA, Wisc. — A Ukrainian teenager escaped the war and is now living with his godmother in Kenosha.
Fourteen-year-old Arsenii Holubov is now in the care of Iryna Faulk, who moved to Kenosha from Ukraine back in 2005. TMJ4 News spoke with her about the war on March 16, when she told us her godson had just crossed into Poland.
Holubov said he was wearing the same clothes he wore when he fled his home back in February.
"It is terrible," Holubov said. "First days were really scary."
Holubov was born and raised in Chernihiv, a city not far from the capital, Kyiv. Chernihiv has been under constant attack.
"I was at home. Mom get up me at 5 o'clock and say, war has started, get up and pick up your clothes," Holubov said.
They raced to an underground bunker, where they stayed with about 20 other people for at least 14 days. Holubov said he could still hear the bombs inside the bunker, and it scared him.
Then his family decided to escape to Poland. The drive to Warsaw took three days. The very next day, Holubov's mother put him on a flight to the United States alone. His mother and older brother are staying back to help in Ukraine. Holubov said he hugged his family and said goodbye. He says his brother gave him a bracelet for him to wear and think about them.
"I was very sad that I had to do it," he said.
He arrived at O'Hare International Airport outside Chicago last Friday. On Monday, he started classes at Bradford High School.
Faulk says she hopes to get her godson involved in tennis, swimming, summer camp and Krav Maga. She says they constantly FaceTime with his mother, whom Faulk says is very brave.
"She's a hero, definitely," Faulk said. "Ukrainian women are strong women."
They all hope they can go back to Ukraine and be together one day.