Ukrainian woman shares story with CBS 58 of fleeing Russian bombings in Kyiv

NOW: Ukrainian woman shares story with CBS 58 of fleeing Russian bombings in Kyiv

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A Ukrainian woman with family in Wisconsin is now sharing her story fleeing Kyiv during the first Russian attacks on February 24, 2022. 

Nataliia Popovych spoke to CBS 58 from Denmark Friday morning, March 11. Popovych has a home and business in Kyiv, the capital city of Ukraine.

"When you wake up in the wee hours of the morning from explosions and, in my case, that day I was supposed to fly out to L'viv to see my dad in Western Ukraine," said Popovych. 

While it was sudden and scary, she says her family and employees have lived with the uncertainty and a "plan B" since January.

"According to 'plan B,' we made sure that we had a place rented out for my employees in western Ukraine, in case they needed to evacuate. We had escape suitcases in case bombings are going to start," said Popovych. 

Popovych was able to get to her family in western Ukraine. Usually a four hour drive, it took a full 24 hours. She now stays with her children at her home in Denmark, but her family is still in Lviv. Western Ukrainians are safe for now, but Popovych says there's no telling where Russians will target its bombs next. 

Popovych says it's hard watching families being ripped away from each other-- mothers and children fleeing while family members stay back to fight for Ukraine, but she says it's the same thing Russians have been doing to the people of Ukraine for decades. 

"I think for that to happen again and for me, for example, to go through losing my home at least temporarily in Kyiv, is the same that my family -- who now lives in Wisconsin -- has gone through in their time when they had to at some point flee their homes for safety," said Popovych. 

Popovych says her elderly parents will not be able to leave Ukraine if the times comes western Ukraine is unsafe, because women and children are being prioritized. 

Popovych is the founder of We Are Ukraine, a repository of real information -- most of it shared from people on the ground in Ukraine.

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