SAN FRANCISCO, CA — With the Russian attack on Ukraine, over one million people have been displaced from their homes. They are now seeking refuge in neighboring countries. Thousands are also choosing to enlist as volunteer soldiers to fight for their home country and Ukrainian citizens.
Moved by urgent situation of escalating war, thousands of Ukrainian residents in the Bay Area and supporters are requesting to go to Ukraine to join in the fight.
Yan Semenovskyi is a Ukrainian who is doing a medical residency here in the United States. He’s been staying in San Francisco for the past week.
“I was speechless, and I basically woke up drenched in sweat and the first thing that came to mind was to call all of my friends, all of my family members to make sure that everything is fine. That everybody is safe,” Semenovskyi said to ABC news.
Semenovskyi says the past week of the war has hit him hard. He’s thousands of miles from home and left feeling unable to help his friends and family. He’s petitioning to go back to Ukraine to help the soldiers and residents with his medical training. For many in the Bay Area, like Semenovskyi, they cannot help but want to go back to Ukraine, knowing that their family members are in direct danger and also doing their part to help in the defense efforts.
From delivering supplies, to making bunkers and home-concocted bombs, residents are fighting for their country, their safety, and their families. The Ukrainian consulate has received hundreds of requested from Bay Area residents who desire to go to Ukraine or want to know how they can help.
One nonprofit is jumping directly into the frontlines to help Ukrainians with disabilities flee to neighboring countries.
The California-based non-profit Joni & Friends International Disability Center, is helping stranded Ukrainians with disabilities cross the border into Poland and other neighboring countries. They are helping those who have great physical difficulty with moving far distances on their own.
The non-profit has helped evacuate 35 people, including 15 with disabilities including cerebral palsy and Ukrainians who are wheel-chair bound, as of Friday.