INDIANAPOLIS — As people try desperately to leave Ukraine amid the ongoing attack from Russia, Olga & Ruslan Antonova consider themselves lucky. They're from Ukraine, but made their way to Indianapolis before the invasion started.
"The war started on February 24 and for me, this day and a half is like a year. A whole life. It has changed our lives and the lives of Ukrainian people forever," Olga said.
As soon as the United States started sounding the alarm about an imminent Russian invasion, their friends and colleagues through Mission to Ukraine, a Christian non-profit based in Central Indiana, began pleading with the couple to leave with their two kids. They had active visas which made the process easier, but leaving their family and friends, along with their oldest son who's in college in Lithuania, wasn't an easy decision.
"Still, at that time in Ukraine, not so many people believed in what is happening now," Ruslan said.
While still in shock over what's happening, the couple says they've always known this might be a possibility. There's been tension ever since Ukraine declared its independence back in 1991 from the Soviet Union.
"We know that Russia has never accepted independence of Ukraine. It has always been wanting to get it back," Olga said. "Russia, Putin wants to revive Soviet Union. We have lived under the Soviet Union, so I would never want to go through it again."
While they're thankful to be safe in Indianapolis, the Antonovas say they have thought about the future and what going back to Ukraine would look like.
"We're willing to come back if God allows. We're willing to come back to our church, our ministry, our work, our parents that are there," Ruslan said.
"But it will also depend on what kind of country it'll be in the future. If God allows Ukraine to be occupied, we cannot go back," Olga said.
As world leaders mull over what to do about Vladimir Putin's decision to invade a sovereign nation, Olga and Ruslan's message to everyone, especially leaders like President Joe Biden, is simple.
"We have to stand for Ukraine and help this country to continue to exist."
Gifted 6-year-old girl with Einstein-level IQ shines in the classroomA young girl from New Jersey is proving that you don't have to be Albert Einstein to be considered a genius
IMPD seeks public's help in locating missing 76-year-old manThomas Lewis Jr., 76, was last seen on Oct. 26 in the 400 block of N. Hamilton Avenue. Lewis may need medical attention.
Shaquille Leonard gets one-year deal with Philadelphia EaglesTwo weeks after being waived from the Indianapolis Colts, The Philadelphia Eagles have signed linebacker Shaquille Leonard on a one-year deal.
Statewide attorney shortage is putting public safety at risk, prosecutors sayThe national average is four lawyers for every 1,000 residents. In Indiana, it’s much lower—averaging 2.3 attorneys per 1,000 residents