Irving man stays in Ukrainian capital despite possible Russian invasion

An Irving man studying abroad has decided to continue his stay in the Ukrainian capital even as the region awaits a possible Russian invasion.

As U.S. officials say Russia is one step closer to an invasion of Ukraine, North Texans and their families continue to pray for a peaceful outcome.

Daria Zluckyj said the Sunday morning message to St. Sophia Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church in The Colony had an ominous feeling.

“It’s a huge black cloud,” Zaluckyj said. “We need a collective prayer from everyone saying please leave our country alone. Let our country be.”

Zaluckyj sat in the audience, worried about what awaited her this week, hoping her homeland would be spared.

Russian troops encircling the Ukrainian border continue, now exceeding 200,000.

“More troops are coming, more equipment, field hospitals and bridges are being built,” she said. “If this is all just drill, it’s drill, let me tell you.”

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Over the weekend, Russia conducted nuclear exercises. At the same time, the Winter Olympics ended.

“If I decide I can get up and go, there are 45 million people here who can’t get up and go,” Tom Sanchez said.

Sanchez, who lives in Irving, is temporarily living in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, to take a language course.

FOX4 spoke to him last week and reached out to him on Sunday.

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Sanchez said the tone in the nation’s capital has changed.

Walking the streets on weekends, Sanchez noticed fewer foreigners.

“Last week it was like, maybe it’s not going to happen,” he said. “You are preparing for impact at this point. You weren’t preparing for impact last week.”

Even with an ominous feeling flooding the Ukrainian capital, residents continue to go about their daily lives.

Sanchez extended his stay until Thursday, by choice.

He was due back on Sunday.

The White House has made it clear that the deadline for US citizens to leave is getting closer and it may now be too late.

From Monday, other airlines are expected to be suspended out of Ukraine.

So in a few days, a way out could be limited for Sanchez.

“If the scenario they keep pointing out is 70% correct, then the planes won’t fly,” he said. “I’ll probably take another route if I want to get out.”

Christi C. Elwood