Beginning of the Invasion of Ukraine February 24, 2022

The story started in the previous post “Staying in Ukraine Before the War Started”

The news said February 16 was the day of the invasion and the start of the war. That day came and went. We stocked up on cheese and fresh fruit for Katya to build up her immunity again. On the 24th we were woken up to jets flying over the farm followed by helicopters. The pictures on the walls shook and some fell to the floor. I remember her father Sergei asking me what I was going to do if the Russians shoot at me. I answered that I would shoot back at ANYONE that shot at me, and I would not miss! Her family asked me why I came from the safety of the USA to the cold countryside where a war was sure to start. This is an easy answer. I am not a hero, but I sure as hell am not a zero either! Her father respected me for coming all that way. It was the right thing to do, period, and I would do that all over again, minus the sad ending. I have lost a few male friends over this topic of my trip to evacuate Katya from Ukraine.

The US Embassy sent me an email and called me every day for the whole month of February. I had one man assigned to me and he did a good job of checking up on us. He was a good man but some of these “men” that I knew told me to leave her there, send money, or just find another Ukrainian woman. This was sad and shocking, and it angered me. I dropped quite a few so-called men, so-called friends, in February and March. They all talked a big game yet they all still sat on their couches, couch surfing, as we had missiles going over our heads and full-on war took over Ukraine, like an infection slowly taking hold of the proud, strong people I met.

Finally, I talked Katya’s family into agreeing to let me take her out of Ukraine. That was the goal of the trip. We talked a lot and prayed a lot, and consulted with doctors in the USA. It was too soon to tell just how healthy the baby was and at 12 then 14 weeks.
Things would become very serious very fast. On our last night there we got together with her family on the 15-acre farm that her family had just purchased for somewhere around $750. It had a small brick house that needed quite a bit of work, but the gem on this property was all of the mature fruit trees. They had apples, pears, persimmons, and grapes on the vine.

This was March 1st. We had a great meal with lots of Vodka, and my fried chicken was a hit. There might be some pictures attached to the blog with the faces politely blurred out.
The images lend a hand to this entire very long story. In Gadyich all of the ATMs but one were boarded up, and the one that was in operation only dispensed 1000 UAH per transaction. The pharmacies had begun to run out of essential medications. This was happening just like I have seen before in the Middle East. Small towns run out of fuel, and medication, then the supermarket shelves begin to remain empty. This is what Russia wanted. I sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in November of 2013 so now I have an epileptic seizure disorder. It is controlled with medication and I had plenty of my special medications from the USA but Katya was pregnant and needed advanced care. Imagine all of the senior citizens or those that are diabetic. What would they do when the pharmacies ran out of essential medicine?

To back up a little, I sustained the TBI and my neck was also basically crushed from level C3 to C7. In my travel insurance blog, you can read how this injury happened. I didn’t dive into the lasting effects of this TBI and neck injury but the side effects will last forever. With food (other than the food in the cellar) like fruits and milk in short supply and SUPER LONG 4-kilometer lines to get petrol, the time for us to leave Gadyich had arrived.

The story continues in the next post “My Fleeing from the War in Ukraine”

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Author: Andy Scoggins

Andrew has traveled extensively from his home on the Outer Banks of North Carolina having starting his journey through the former Soviet Union in Winter of 2012 to Novokuznetsk, then on to Ukraine's Lviv, Kyiv, Kharkov, and finally his second home, Odessa.  

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