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Hoosiers with connections to Ukraine watch Russian invasion from afar

Posted at 11:18 PM, Feb 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-06 10:56:49-05

INDIANAPOLIS — As Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine, people across the world are reacting with horror shock to the images of carnage coming out after one day of fighting.

Steve Znachko, who lives in Indianapolis, is personally impacted. He's spent a lot of time in the country.

"I've been going for 25 years, around 50 different trips. I know a lot of people in one particular region," Znachko said.

Through the Christian-based nonprofit Mission to Ukraine, he's worked extensively with children who have special needs while also serving as the group's pastor.

Znachko says he keeps in daily contact with many of the staff members they still have over there. He's been following the news closely over the last several months, knowing this invasion was imminent. He just returned from the country in January.

"I went in because we don't know when we'll be able to go back now and these people are like family to me. They are family to me and I don't know when I'm going to get to go see my family again," he said.

"It's gotten really real, really fast. They woke up to bombs going off this morning. They're not a military power, so they're not going to be able to stand on their own against Russia. If it's a military on military, Ukrainians lose and it is a question on how many people they'll lose because they'll fight to keep their country."

RELATED | Ukrainian death toll surpasses 130 in attack's first day

While Russia is working to destroy airports and military bases in Ukraine, it has been confirmed by ABC News and other media outlets, the Ukrainian people are bearing the brunt of these attacks.

Znachko knows this to be true as well.

"There are families hunkered down right now, afraid of bombs. They're utterly defenseless and they're counting on the world to stand up to Russia to say you can't invade and take over a sovereign nation," Znachko said. "Will the reaction of the world be strong enough to make it costly enough that he will actually back out?"