KALISPELL — The Ukraine invasion continues to impact families across the world, even in the rural Montana town of Kila with a population of fewer than 500 people.
“This is not right what’s going on now, no, people don’t need to die because somebody’s impatience, no, this is not right,” said Kila resident Maryna Hansen.
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Hansen moved to Kila 5 years ago from her hometown of Poltava, Ukraine.
“Well, I married here with a local guy, he’s from Kila,” added Hansen.
She often dreams of one day showing her Ukrainian family the beauty of Montana.
“I want to show them, Montana, I want to show how I like to spend time here, how I like to hike, go to the lake,” said Hansen.
Now she spends her waking hours glued to her phone, communicating with family back in Ukraine as she fears for their lives.
“They just staying at home, they’re afraid to even go outside anywhere, it's good they have some food still, but they don’t know how long it’s going to last," said Hansen.
She feels helpless being so far away, barely sleeping, worried sick.
“I wake up in the morning and first what I do is message everybody who I know, how they’re doing, are they alive, is they ok, does anybody need help,” said Hansen.
Kila native Quincy Moore moved to Kyiv, Ukraine 4-and-a-half years ago to pursue a career in public health after finishing his master’s degree.
Roughly 30 days ago, Moore and his partner relocated to Istanbul based on the urgent recommendation from the U.S. Embassy.
He said leaving behind Ukrainian friends and colleagues was one of the hardest decisions of their lives.
“It’s just hard because you feel so helpless being so far away, and you try to do what you can, but it doesn’t feel like much,” said Moore.
Moore said the culture and people of Ukraine are like Montanan’s, strong, fierce, and independent, always lending a helping hand when neighbors need it most.
“It’s a little wild and a little rough, it’s not too pretentious or refined, but it’s still filled with so many interesting places and the people are super kind,” added Moore.
Moore and his partner are trying to help their Ukrainian friends by shipping supplies from Istanbul but say it’s been difficult as Russian troops are blocking certain border access points.
A friend’s mother is stuck in Kyiv and running out of cancer medication she needs to survive.
“I’ve been trying to find a way to get some medication into Kyiv,” added Hansen.
As the invasion continues, Hansen can’t help but ask why this is happening to the people and the country she loves.
“I don’t know what we did bad to Putin, nothing bad, we just want to have our own country, free country, independent country, we love our country, we love our people,” said Hansen.
Moore said the devastation of war is indescribable and so heartbreaking for the people of Ukraine.
“How one second, one day, you can wake up and the whole worlds changed, and everything, I know people who have just lost everything that they’ve worked their entire lives to build up, they were living very normal lives like any Montanan,” said Moore.
Moore provided MTN News with information for people who are looking to help out Ukraine residents.
- Nova Ukraine: A Ukrainian NGO that provides humanitarian aid from food, to hygiene products, to clothing to people in need throughout Ukraine. https://novaukraine.org
- Ukrainian Red Cross: They provide humanitarian work around Ukraine including providing food and supplies to people, handling and coordinating blood donations, providing medical support to remote areas and displaced people. https://redcross.org.ua/en/donate/
- UNICEF: They are providing emergency response for children and work on rebuilding schools. https://www.unicef.org/ukraine/en/donate-now [unicef.org]