CONWAY, Ark. – This Friday will mark one year since Russia launched an invasion against Ukraine and leading up to President Biden’s surprise Monday visit.
The President said he made the trip to reaffirm the United States’ unwavering commitment to Ukraine. A Ukrainian professor at Central Baptist College is praying the war comes to an end quickly as her family still lives in Ukraine.
Dr. Kateryna Pitchford is a Professor of Business at CBC in Conway, she said she left Ukraine in 2004 to go to school in Arkansas and later became a professor. She adds she never thought her home country would become war-torn.
Since the start of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s launched invasion of Ukraine, Dr. Pitchford said there have been a number of air sirens in parts of Ukraine and they are still prevalent.
“I think several days ago they had 19 air sirens,” Pitchford said.
Pitchford says she is from Dnipro, Ukraine and since her time as a professor in Conway she has been able to teach her students about her home country.
She also said over the past year she has been able to stay in contact with her family and friends when their electricity is on, however, she says they are still in dangerous surroundings as they try to work and live in a “new reality.”
“Where you have to know if you went to work you use this road you might not be able to come back because a bomb may have landed and destroyed it,” Pitchford stated.
She says maintaining contact with her family has been difficult because of the blast from bombs causing power outages.
“You may come home and there is no electricity for 5 days and there may be no water for a period of time,” Pitchford said.
The Associated Press reports more than 10,000 people have died due to the war and around 5 million people have fled Ukraine as refugees. Dr. Pitchford says she is trying to do her part to help Ukrainian refugees who come to Arkansas.
“I just know it’s a really big transition language-wise,” Pitchford said.
She’s also thankful for President Biden’s recent visit to Ukraine.
“Ukraine definitely wouldn’t be able to sustain the borders this long without the world community and world support,” Pitchford stated.
President Biden says later this week the United States will announce sanctions against people trying to support Russia. Pitchford adds she hopes more will be done to help her country’s democracy.