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CHICAGO —  Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have fled their country. Others don’t want to leave their homes. But for local families, frustration in keeping loved ones safe continues.

As sirens sound and missiles strike in Ukraine, Chicago resident Anna Parkhomenko lives in constant fear for her family.

“He did ask me to take care of his family if something bad happens. That caused me to have enormous panic,” Parkhomenko said.

Her parents live in northwestern Ukraine, but her brother is an officer in the Ukrainian army and lives in Kyiv with his wife and 4-year-old daughter. Parkhomenko said her niece and sister-in-law spend 90% of their time sheltering in the basement of their apartment building.

“She sent me a picture from the grocery store. It’s empty. It’s very serious. It’s very scary,” Parkhomenko said.

To help her brother, Anna’s been reaching out to whoever she can to try and provide assistance.


Ulyana Vysochanska’s sister and nephew were able to flee Ukraine to Poland. But now, she’s trying to help her only remaining family.

“She’s in a safe place in Poland, but it’s not her country. There’s no family there,” Vysochanska said. “She’s alone.”

Vysochanska told WGN News has been on the phone constantly trying to get her sister a visitor’s visa to come to Illinois but it’s been denied.

I’m just shocked by this whole situation because she’s alone there,” Vysochanska said. “I can help her here. I don’t need her to stay here forever. She even doesn’t want to. She has a home there. She has everything there. I just want to save her here.”