BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- The images from Ukraine are heartbreaking: Families torn apart, a children's hospital left in ruins and Russia increasingly injuring civilians amid U.S. government fears they may resort to biological weapons.
"Ukrainians are struggling. They need assistance. They need help," Oleksiy Blavat told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren. Blavat knows those struggles more than most. He came from Ukraine to Baltimore 20 years ago to make his life here.
Now, he is worried about family stuck in Ukraine's capital, especially his grandmother.
"They are actually in Kyiv, so they're hiding out in the worst possible place," he said. On his grandmother, "She's not in a state of health— when I hear of people walking 30-40 kilometers to the border—she can't do that."
He was able to get her on a bus to neighboring Poland. On Wednesday, he began his long journey to Warsaw, hoping to bring his grandmother to safety.
He choked back tears when Hellgren asked him about their upcoming reunion.
"I'll be relieved, but I still worry about my uncle, the rest of my family," Blavat said. "It's not an easy thing for them to leave the country where they used to be comfortable and they had their entire life. It's also nuts that a nation that speaks the same language…is fighting a war that is being led by a single man. He is punishing his own people, the Russians, and he is punishing my people for no reason as well."
Baltimore has a strong Ukrainian community and many still have ties to loved ones there and are desperate to make sure they stay safe.
"On the surface, this war is pointless. I don't understand why they're targeting a country that has been at peace…and has helped them fight the Nazis, and they're now calling Ukrainians Nazis. It doesn't make sense," Blavat said.
He is hopeful his grandmother can get out safely and at least temporarily make Baltimore her home.
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