PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — There have been knots in Anna Makhorkina’s stomach for months, but it was Wednesday night when she quickly reached for her phone to make a very important phone call.

The call was to her parents who live in Lviv, a city in western Ukraine where she was born and raised. Missile strikes had been reported miles away.

“I call them, I can’t reach them and my heart’s still sinking,” Makhorkina said.

Eventually, she did get in touch and her parents, who blamed the missed call on the late hour. They confirmed they were OK.

However with her parents steadfast on staying in their home even as the Russian invasion of the country continues, Makhorkina fears how much longer they may be OK.

“I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Exacerbated by the feeling of helplessness here. You don’t have control of the situation,” Makhorkina said.

Makhorkina has lived in the United States for more than two decades now. She came to study at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, where she currently works.

BELOW: Dr. Anna Makhorkina talks about the emotions surrounding the invasion of Ukraine.

For five years she has also been president of the Tidewater Ukrainian Cultural Association. She says the group currently has more than 300 members, who have proved to be a vital community in recent weeks.

“I created a Facebook group for us all to chat and share information,” Makhorkina said. “It has just continued to grow.”

Recently, the board of directors has also been posting statements to their Facebook page condemning the actions of Russia.

“We are all horrified by Russia’s ongoing all-out invasion of Ukraine. Both in word and in action, Putin confirms his imperialist aspirations to subjugate Ukraine and the Ukrainian people and proves yet again that he seeks war and respects only strength.

“We appreciate the United States and its allies showing unity in response to aggression from Russia, and for implementing the first wave of sanctions against Russia’s economy and Russian officials. We applaud the ‘bipartisan message of solidarity and resolve’ from the US Senate leaders to support Ukraine ‘in this dark hour.’

“But we expect more. We call on the United States and allies to not pause there but to introduce more severe sanctions against Russia’s elite, including cutting Russia’s access to SWIFT; to significantly increase military and economic aid to Ukraine; to cancel the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline; and to reaffirm Ukraine’s progress toward joining NATO and EU. We call on the United Nations to send peacekeepers to Ukraine for the unbiased monitoring of the situation.

“A major war in Ukraine will not stay in Ukraine. Not only lives and the future of 44 million Ukrainian are at stake, the future of the whole international security and stability is under attack.”

Tidewater Ukrainian Culture Association Board of Directors

Myla Mozgova, a Virginia Beach attorney who is also from Ukraine, echoes the group’s statement and emphasized Ukrainians’ desire to defend their own land.

“That country needs tools to fight back,” Mozgova said.

She is encouraging everyone to call their member of Congress and speak out in support of Ukraine. She points to language in the 1994 Budapest Memorandum as justification for U.S. action.

“We want peace. That is all,” Mozgova said.

BELOW: Myla Mozgova, a Virginia Beach attorney discusses why Ukraine needs help.

On Friday at 11 a.m., both Makhorkina and Mozgova plan to be at a Stand for Ukraine event in Town Point Park in Norfolk.

Both say any support really matters at this time.

“The support is overwhelming. Ukrainians do appreciate support is there. But we do. We would like to see more,” Makhorkina said.