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Ukranian woman shares experience fleeing to safety amid war with Russia

Kateryna Malinevska and her family drove for 35 hours until they found a safe place to stay
Kateryna Malinevska Ukraine Russia
Posted at 8:21 PM, Feb 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-26 22:33:58-05

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Kateryna Malinevska does not speak English very well, but she did know how to describe her emotions amid Ukraine's war with Russia. "Very scared," she kept repeating to FOX 17 Saturday.

Malinevska is the girlfriend of Jeff Anderson, an assistant wrestling coach at Grand Valley State. She was born in Ukraine and currently lives in the country's capital city of Kyiv.

READ MORE: 'My heart just saddens': West Michigan man fearful for friends, girlfriend living in Ukraine

However, since Kyiv is the epicenter of sorts in this battle with Russia, she and her family were forced to escape, leaving their home and most of their belongings behind.

They drove through the night from Kyiv to a smaller village in western Ukraine to find a safe place to stay. The typical 10-hour drive took them more than 35 hours because so many other people were trying to leave as well.

Malinevska said she heard rockets and gunfire going off most of the drive.

While they've made it to safety for now, she said many of her friends stayed in Kyiv to fight Russian forces.

Malinevska told FOX 17 it's frightening to see her country under attack right now.

“I’m scared," she said. "It’s a big pain; it’s a big pain to see this and to feel this. Ukraine is a very peaceful country. We don’t want to have the war; we don’t want to fight with everyone. We want peace in Ukraine, in Europe and in the world.”

Malinevska said one thing that has given her hope is the outpouring of support from people in the United States and around the world.

While the U.S. hasn't sent any troops to Ukraine — and likely won't at any point — President Biden did authorize the State Department to send another $350 million in military aid to help.

READ MORE: Here's how you can help Ukrainians

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