"I'm trying to keep it together": NYC woman doesn't know when she'll be reunited with husband in Ukraine
NEW YORK -- For those with family in Ukraine, these recent days have brought nothing but anxiety for their loved ones' safety.
CBS2's Cory James spoke to a woman from our area who doesn't know when she'll be reunited with her husband.
With each stroke of her paintbrush, Ola Rondiak is trying to find peace in her New York City studio, but there is one thing on her mind.
"My immediate concern is my husband," she said.
Rondiak's husband, Petro, is in Ukraine, a place that has been their home for 25 years.
When tensions increased ahead of Ola's return to eastern Europe last week, the couple decided to change the 55-year-old's travel plans out of concern for her safety and their children.
"All three kids are in the U.S. They're in their 20s, and we discussed it at length, and we did not want to add psychological load to them as they're starting their lives [with] both parents in a potential war zone," Petro said in a Zoom interview.
"You mentioned just being psychologically disciplined. Are you concerned? Are you worried?" James asked.
"Yeah, I mean, everybody is worried. People try not to talk about it because they know that panic is exactly what Putin wants," Petro said.
Petro says some of that panic was felt during the 2014 revolution when grocery stores were empty, power was out and cell phone reception was down.
"We're not seeing that here now. All of the grocery store shelves are full ... Restaurants are full, bars are full. I mean, it's kind of surreal," he said.
Still, Petro tells CBS2 people in Ukraine are gearing up for the worst. Photos show his bags packed and loaded in the car.
"I'm prepared to drive out of here, and I'm prepared to walk out of here," he said.
While the unknown is scary, the Rondiaks say they are staying positive for Ukrainians and their family.
"It's emotional. I'm trying to keep it together," Ola said. "My parents survived a war, and they taught us to be strong, so that's what we have to do."
And that's what they plan to do until they are reunited again.
"The truth and freedom have to prevail," Ola said.
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