LOWELL (CBS) - A father in Lowell father is watching the war in Ukraine with fear and hope that his two children will be safe in a nation under attack.
His son and daughter are living with their mother in an area of Ukraine that has seen fighting every day.
Related: How To Help The People Of Ukraine
It's a perilous situation that gives him a haunting appreciation for what his parents went through years ago.
"Their world is being torn apart," Sam Hy told WBZ-TV of his 7-year-old daughter Milana and his 5-year-old son Maksim.
He struggles with the knowledge they're shuttling between basements near Kharkiv where his Ukrainian ex-wife recorded video of the Russian bombardment Tuesday morning.
"They don't deserve this. Very fragile and then I feel helpless," Hy said.
His children were born in the United States, but they moved to Ukraine with their mom four years ago.
"I pray that they'll be okay. So far, they are okay," he said.
Sam Hy has a unique perspective on this ordeal with his kids. His parents fled the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia back in the 1970's. Sam was born in a refugee camp.
"And that just makes me wonder, have we not learned anything as humans? Where's the humanity? Where's the love? Where's the compassion?" he asks.
He was able to video chat with his children last Friday when they had only a vague concept of the events turning their lives upside down.
"Just smiling, giving the thumbs up or just eating a cupcake. They have no idea what's happening outside the walls," Hy told WBZ.
The U.S. sanctions against Russia, he says, aren't enough and he's urging the free world to get tougher with Vladimir Putin. But as the Russians advance, he now understands the fear his parents must have felt fleeing Cambodia more than four decades ago.
"It just seems like madness to me, complete madness, what's happening," Hy said.
for more features.