A week into the war in Ukraine, the impact overwhelms local Soviet refugees – NBC 6 South Florida


It looks like a civil war. When you talk to refugees from the former Soviet Union, thousands of whom live in South Florida, they will tell you that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is like one state in the United States fighting another. They see it that way because a lot of them have friends and family in both countries.

Katia Majstorovic left the Soviet Union as a child. She lives in South Florida. Her parents still live in Russia, her grandmother was born in Ukraine, and she also has close friends there. She is an example of the force with which this war is hitting people thousands of miles away.

“Completely shocked, I think no one expected this, no one wants this war, I don’t understand what the logic behind this is, Ukrainians are very peaceful people,” Majstorovic said.

Here in South Florida, charities such as the Global Empowerment Mission are collecting supplies and raising funds to help the hundreds of thousands of refugees leaving Ukraine. GEM partners with Airbnb to help.

“One of the reasons we’ve stepped up right now is because we have the global housing network, one of the most urgent needs for refugees, and certainly for refugees fleeing Ukraine,” said Liz De Bold Fusco, spokesperson for Airbnb.

Majstorovic has friends who have moved from Kyiv to safer parts of the country.

“Most of the people I know are mothers, they are ordinary people away from politics and everyone is shocked, everyone is outraged and everyone literally feels like this is something that out of a horror movie,” Majstorovic said.

She fears her parents won’t be able to get the medicine they need in Russia once the sanctions really cripple the economy there. His half-brother was arrested in St. Petersburg for protesting against the war. Now Majstorovic and his friends fear history is repeating itself and we are on the brink of World War III.


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