PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The contents of Tania Skorokhod’s luggage offer a stark look at the danger citizens face in Ukraine.
A large suitcase is stuffed with ballistic plates, bulletproof vests, protective helmets, protective eyewear, and a digital camouflage uniform that’s about a size 6 in women’s clothing.
“I’m gonna give it to them and from there they are going to send it over to Ukraine because I’m taking personally a bulletproof vest for my friend who is a 23-year-old woman. She is going to fight in a couple of weeks. She is now in training, so when training is over in two weeks, she’s gonna fight,” said Skorokhod a few hours before a scheduled trip to Warsaw, Poland.
From Portsmouth to Poland, Skorokhod is on a long journey to rescue family members and help those fighting in Ukraine. Five loved ones including a baby have been on the run for more than a month. Requests for visas were denied and now Democratic Congressman Bobby Scott’s office has offered help through a new program called Unity for Ukraine.
“They said to start the application and once I start the process they will probably send a letter to USCIS and probably try to speed up their process,” said Skorokhod.
Their hometown, Kherson, is occupied by Russian soldiers. Friends have shared their survival stories in phone calls and videos.
“They hide behind the wall. If they hear shelling they have to hide behind the walls,” she said.
Skorokhod hopes to return with her family, until then, her husband George is concerned that what Russian President Vladimir Putin does in Ukraine will not stay in Ukraine.
“Russia is threatening with nuclear weapons and the first country is Poland, the United Kingdom, and the U.S., so who knows what’s in his head. Hopefully nothing will happen. Who knows. It’s just dangerous in Europe right now,” said Skorokhod.