MILWAUKEE — Devastating images are coming out of Ukraine as Russia invades. President Biden addressed the nation about actions the United States and other countries are taking. Oksana Ivanyuk spoke to TMJ4's Ubah Ali via Zoom from her apartment in Kyiv, Ukraine.
When we spoke with her, she was surprisingly calm amid the chaos. She said Ukrainians expected aggression from Putin, but were not prepared for it to happen suddenly.
"We woke up with an understanding that Ukraine is in a war with Russia," Ivanyuk said.
She said she woke up Thursday morning to the sounds of bombs going off not far from her home. "We keep seeing air jets pass by and we keep seeing bombs go off from time to time."
Ivanyuk was born in Ukraine and said for eight years, people knew Putin could one day invade.
"To be honest, people are not that afraid because we've been living in the state of war since 2014," Ivanyuk stated. "We were amazed. We were surprised. We couldn't believe that this is happening in the 21st century."
She said she's still in disbelief at what is unfolding before her eyes in Ukraine.
When we asked her why she hasn't left, she said it's because Ukraine is her home.
"It (the situation in Ukraine) doesn't make you want to hide. It does make you want to fight for your home," Ivanyuk said.
She tells us she isn't the only one wanting to take matters into her hands. Local citizens have formed defense teams in case matters get worse.
Ivanyuk said she has thought about joining, but will see what transpires in the days to come.
Right now, she said certain items at grocery stores are running out as people begin panic buying. It's also starting to impact some banks.
"By 12 or 1 p.m. (Ukraine time) it was impossible to withdraw cash," Ivanyuk said. "Smaller stores don't expect credit cards and they only want cash. That's becoming a problem."
Ivanyuk said her worst nightmare is Ukraine being occupied.
Beyond flyers posted around Kyiv telling people where the nearest bomb shelters are, the government has instructed people to have an emergency bag packed with medicine and documents.
Ivanyuk said her bag is packed, but she is hopeful this will end quickly.