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'Dad, I Don't Want To Die': Local Ukrainian Leaves For Home Country To Help Family Escape

ORANGEVALE (CBS13) - A local Ukrainian is packing his bags and is not hesitating to head straight towards the violence in his home country.

The pastor from Eastern Ukraine has been praying at Spring of Life Ukrainian Baptist Church in Orangevale. With family and friends in danger right now, Peter Dudnyk couldn't stand by and watch any longer.

"Buildings destroyed, families destroyed, dead bodies all around and children without parents," Dudnyk told CBS13.  "I want to just join my people there. I know it's a hard time for them but I want to be there."

Dudnyk told us he already has a plane ticket and plans to leave Sacramento and fly back to his home country this week to help people escape into neighboring countries.

"To be honest I want to take out my family, my kids, somewhere outside of Ukraine. But personally, I want to go back because a lot of people don't have any opportunity to run away," said Dudnyk.

Heartbreaking video of his daughter wounded on her face during all the mayhem provides a glimpse into his motivation.  In the video, the young girl says, 'President Putin the kids are talking to you.  Please take away your soldiers from our land.'

"When your kid is waking up in the morning and saying, 'Dad, I don't want to die today.' But you can't do anything to help. You're a man and you can't do anything to save his life," said Dudnyk.

Considering it everyone's duty to save their own, they're not calling it a mission.  They're calling it a way of life.

"I'm worried about everybody. I'm worried about him. But you can't hide. You can't stay here and just look from here and not do anything," said fellow pastor and friend, Vadim Dashkevich. "So if God calls you, you should go and do."

For Dudnyk heading straight into a warzone, the focus is on family while leaving fear behind.

"The love of God that I received from the Lord is much stronger than fear. So that's why we do that. We love God and we love people," said Dudnyk.

Dudnyk is leaving for Ukraine on Thursday. It will be the second time he's helped refugees escape a crisis in Ukraine. Back in 2014 when pro-Russian rebels attacked, he and his church helped 16,000 people get to safety.

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