“There are times when I feel empty and afraid, but I hope Ukraine will see better days.” Olessia Mazera, a student displaced by the war in Ukraine, spoke to A2 CNN’s “Our Day” show about what is unfolding in her country after Russia’s occupation, including the terrifying moments when their home in Kharkiv was bombed by Russians and then fled through fire and smoke to Lviv.
“My hometown is Kharkiv. I am a student who works in a marketing firm. Until three weeks ago, this was my life. I lost everything I owned as a result of the war. Kharkiv is a student city with numerous bars and a vibrant social scene. There are thousands of students studying there from different cities and countries. I feel empty, it’s another thing to see them on TV. These are the streets and places you are familiar with, and the situation is becoming worse. It’s been a harrowing experience. The house was hit one store down, and the only way out was through fire and smoke to the west of Ukraine.”
Despite having options to leave the country, Olessia says she will remain in Ukraine. She will assist the country in spreading information, as well as the displaced people in Lviv who hope to return home peacefully.
“I’m going to have to stay here. I’m not sure I’d be able to leave Ukraine. Now is the time for me to serve my country. I have no choice but to stay and help. I don’t have any other choice. I work from home. We are conducting a global campaign to spread information. I am also personally assisting the displaced in Lviv. There are times when I feel empty and afraid. However, I have faith in Ukraine and its armed forces. I believe that brighter days will come again. We’d like to return to our houses. No problem, we will repair them. But this is our desire: to return home and find peace.”