Irving man staying in Ukrainian capital not yet planning to leave

An Irving man learning abroad says people are going about their business as usual in the Ukrainian capital.

Irving’s Tom Sanchez says he was weighing the option of leaving but chose to witness what would happen if Russia were to invade. Although he acknowledges that some will not understand his decision, he considers it the right thing to do.

Outside Sanchez’s apartment on Monday morning, you can hear the bustling Ukrainian capital of Kiev.

“They started calling and said, ‘Tom, why are you here? You have to go home,'” he said.

Sanchez posted a photo of himself in Ukraine a week ago. Immediately, his friends and family flooded him with emails and phone calls.

North Texans with family in Ukraine continue to hope for peace

Sanchez flew from DFW to Kiev in January while enrolled in a language school, watching more than 100,000 Russian troops circle the Ukrainian border.

President Joe Biden has urged all American citizens to leave Ukraine.

“I know there are a lot of Americans walking around,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez says locals and visitors, like him, aren’t panicking but preparing. He plans to complete his stay until Saturday, although he admits he does not feel safe.

“I mean you can’t just sit there and cry about it,” he said. “You’re like let’s see what happens.”

Others in Ukraine have spent the weekend demonstrating in hopes that Russian President Vladamir Putin’s armed forces will shrink.

North Texans worried about family in Ukraine after White House warning

“I’m thinking about them and what’s going to happen if the worst case scenario happens,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez says he’s scouted safe spots. The metro is a five minute walk from his apartment if he wanted to take the metro.

“The border between Poland and the border is 300 miles from here. I could probably still rent a car and drive there,” he said.

White House urges Americans to leave Ukraine in next ’24-48′ hours; The Russian invasion could be in a few days

As diplomatic efforts continue on Monday, airlines are canceling and diverting flights.

However, Sanchez says he is confident in his decision to stay.

“Just wait and see what happens,” he said. “It’s black and white. You’re either with the good guys or the bad guys. That’s it.”

Sanchez says other Americans are enrolled in his language course. They all chose to stay for now. He is always ready to leave on Sunday.

Christi C. Elwood