‘Home Doesn't Exist Anymore': Ukrainian Students in Boston Fear for Loved Ones

College students from Ukraine studying in the Boston area are watching Russia's ongoing war against their homeland with deep concern for friends and family

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Boston-area college students from Ukraine are safe in the U.S., but they are having a difficult time as their loved ones and their homeland are threatened by Russia's war.

"Our own life that's been going on here for quite some time, it's on pause right now," said Diana Zlotnikova, an undergraduate at Northeastern University.

With the Russian invasion of Ukraine, she's reorganizing her priorities.

"Studying, or our student life, or, you know, our involvement in clubs or organizations on campus, is definitely being pushed back," Zlotnikova said.

The fourth-year finance student thinks a lot about her family, including her great grandmother, who survived World War II, but finds herself now having to hide in a bunker.

"We would wish for nothing more than to be with our families there right now," Zlotnikova said.

"It's hard, I believe — not only for me, but for many Ukrainians stuck in Boston," added Vlas Sokurenko, a graduate student of global public policy at Suffolk University.

Sokurenko's family is in Kyiv, Ukraine's capital that has faced growing attacks by Russia.

"They're telling that it's hard. They also tell that they're safe — kind of safe, as safe as they could be," he said. "But I think that they're just trying to comfort me."

The Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston is working with the Jewish community in Dnipro to mobilize and help people displaced by war.

For those finishing up their studies, graduation is no longer a priority -- going home remains an open question, too.

"If I will think that I will be more useful in Ukraine, then I will probably go to Ukraine," Sokurenko said.

"Home doesn't exist anymore, and this is the reality that we do have to start accepting: There is no home to go back to at this point," Zlotnikova said.

It's uncertain what the future will bring, but the students we spoke with said no matter where they are, they will continue to try to make a difference for Ukraine.

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