'We need to stop World War III together,' Kyivan describes Russian invasion

NOW: ’We need to stop World War III together,’ Kyivan describes Russian invasion

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- As Ukraine suffers the first casualties of war, we're learning more about what life is like on the streets of Kyiv right now. At the same time, friends and family here in the us are trying to stay informed and connected from afar.

Oksana Ivanyuk says the bombs woke her up Thursday in Kyiv. She saw explosions on the horizon and military jets flew past her window. She's preparing to be a citizen soldier, if necessary, saying, "We are here ready to defend our home. We are not going to let Russian invaders into our houses."

Oksana said, "I was asking myself 'when is that threshold when I'll be ready to kill a person?' Try to imagine Russians invade your country. What is that particular moment when you take a gun and kill a human being? Once it crosses the border? Or once they come to a city? Or when they come to your house? When?

Oksana said she doesn't know that answer yet, but she's been thinking about it often after the invasion. "We woke up at 5:00 in the morning because of bombing. You know, there was this thunder. There were those blow-ups on the horizon and air jets were zooming right in front of my window."

But Oksana isn't leaving Kyiv. "If I leave, then who am I leaving this city to? Who's going to say 'who is going to stop them?'"

She says many people like her are preparing to fight if Russian forces advance on the capital city. "They are creating local troops around the cities and people are joining in. You know, all you need to have is your passport and you can go get some guns and join the force."

Back in Milwaukee, all Dr. Maria Haigh can do is wait and watch. She was born in Ukraine, lived in Kyiv, and still has many family and friends there. She said, "I'm just heartbroken that I can't… I can't really help. What can I do?

Dr. Haigh says this invasion reminds Ukrainians of WWII, which is still fresh in the minds of many. Even the Milwaukee airshow still scares her, reminiscent of the horrors of war her parents experienced. She said, "I'm still extremely uncomfortable and scared when in Milwaukee when they do the air shows with military airplanes. This is absolutely terrifying, because it feels like a war. But see now Ukrainians have it for real."

Dr. Haigh said she was just talking to friends as they headed to a bomb shelter. "They're standing all fully dressed and they're going to the bomb shelter. They [were] super calm and she's just looking out of the window at people, everybody kind of walking around."

Dr. Haigh worries communication with Kyiv could soon be cut off if Russia attacks the power grid. "It is hard to predict whether we will be able to talk to them tomorrow. As you know with the cyber-attacks, how all electricity can go off. The lines, the internet, it can all be disconnected any minute and they are very, very close."

That could mean even more isolation.

Oksana said, "The front line is now here in Ukraine. For today, it is here. It's really quite a complicated task to stop Putin, right? To be in the war with Russia. It sounds crazy. But if we don't do it now, if we don't try now, tomorrow they're going to be in Europe. Day after tomorrow, they're going to be in America."

Oksana says the situation is dire. "We do need weapons now. We do need help. We do need really strong sanctions like turning off the SWIFT system for Russian banks and stuff like that. So just help us. We need to stop the World War III together."

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