Ukrainian recounts terrifying events fleeing Russian invasion

Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 4:16 PM EDT
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Thousands of Ukrainian families have fled their homes seeking refuge amid the Russian invasion.

A family shared with WPTV their heartbreaking story of finding a safe place as the violence continues in her homeland.

A Ukrainian woman named Luda spoke about how her family members were killed while trying to escape from Irpin, Ukraine.

Luda's apartment complex was among the buildings damaged.

Twenty-one people, including her family, decided to leave the area together for a safer place.

"The curfew ended at eight in the morning, and that's when they decided to leave, and they decided to go in a caravan of 12 cars," said Alex Dayrabekov, a translator who lived in Ukraine near the same area.

The family then drove 6 miles.

"Where the bridge was blown ... there was a Ukrainian checkpoint where they were stopped, and they were told you cannot go there because the bridge is broke, but there was another road," Dayrabekov said.

Luda said they turned around and took the other road.

That's when she said Russian soldiers opened fire. Her mother was sitting in the back seat and was fatally shot.

"We lost my mother. She sat in my car. She was shot in the neck, and in a few seconds she died," Luda said. "I saw my neighbor, Yulia. She died in the car."

Her brother-in-law was shot in the head near his eye but survived the event.

"They just asked everyone who was still alive to get out of the car and lie on the ground," Dayrabekov said.

Luda said five people died during the confrontation.

After the shooting, they were told to leave the area in different cars, leaving behind the loved ones who had lost their lives, including her mother. Soldiers told them to get into other cars.

"Supposedly the Russians took these two cars in the yards of the cottages next door to this place," Dayrabekov said.

Luda said they rushed the wounded to the hospital, including her brother-in-law, who was also shot.

She said they are all now safe and staying with a family member.

"We cannot turn the time around, and we cannot get our people back," Dayrabekov said.

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