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HomeNewsUkranian-born woman living in Huntsville hoping for "miracle"

Ukranian-born woman living in Huntsville hoping for “miracle”

Huntsville resident Daria Coloumbe believes Russian forces will advance on the town she grew up in Ukraine, Kryvyi Rih, soon.

“Probably end of the next week, if no miracle happens,” she says. 

While she lives in Huntsville with her husband and their three kids, her parents, brother, and many other family and friends still live in the war-torn country. 

“My morning doesn’t start with coffee,” she says. “My morning starts with a call to my parents and see them alive, and see my brother alive.”

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Coloumbe says most of the fighting is happening about 20 minutes away from where her parents live. “It’s scary,” she says.

Between speaking with family and friends still in Ukraine, she watches news reports for updates. Coloumbe says she’s seen pictures and videos of buildings she recognizes as places she would frequent when she was younger. “Now they’re destroyed,” she says. 

When she spoke to the newsroom on March 1, Coloumbe said she’s struggling with how to explain what’s going on to her children. She says it’s still difficult figuring out what to tell them. “My mom accidentally dropped the phone and there was a black screen and my daughter heard some noise,” Coloumbe says about a recent video call between her mother and her daughter. “She didn’t get what the noise was and she started to cry because grandma didn’t answer.”

Her parents still have no plans on leaving. 

“My poppa still wants to be there because it’s his land,” she explains. “Secondly, they don’t want to leave my brother.”

Her mom is almost blind, she explains, and her dad is over 70 and isn’t in great health either. Even if they did want to leave, she believes it would be difficult for them to get to safety. 

According to Coloumbe, Ukraine is not allowing men between the ages of 18 and 65 to leave the country. She hopes that changes so men are allowed to leave, as long as they aren’t in the military. “Maybe they can help somehow from the outside,” she says.”I want my family to be in a safe place.” 

Coloumbe says she’s thought about going back home. “I have the feeling that I want to go, but on the other hand I have three kids,” she says. “Sometimes when I’m very angry, I want very badly to go, but sometimes I understand it sounds a little bit crazy,” she says.

She has donated money to help Ukraine in their fight and is in constant contact with family and friends asking if there’s anything else she can do to support them.

Previously, she was critical of the government’s response to the war saying they were taking too long to take action. However, she says she’s been “very impressed” with what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has done in recent weeks. 

“It’s not easy for governments too,” she says. “Every president, his country is like his family and he wants the best for his family. Sometimes it’s hard to make a solution or decision for (them).”

“It’s just so stupid,” she says of what’s happening. “Why do we have to have a war? Why are they greedy? It’s never enough.”

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