CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — In recent days, the United States warned that Moscow has already decided to invade Ukraine. The buildup of Russian troops along Ukraine's borders is especially stressful for Corpus Christi resident Oleksandr Zhalkovskyi.
The 30-year-old grew up in Ukraine, moving to the United States just ten years ago. Except for his wife and two young children, Zhalkovskyi's entire family remains in the eastern European nation that could be invaded any day now.
“I am worried that if the Russian president is crazy enough to go on with the invasion of the entire country, then my mom will be unsafe," he said. "She doesn’t have anywhere to go."
Zhalkovskyi hasn't seen his mother since his last trip to Ukraine in 2018.
The COVID-19 pandemic made scheduling travel difficult, but now he says airlines have canceled many flights in and out of the country because of the current conflict.
Still, Zhalkovskyi is trying to stay positive about a possible family reunion in the near future.
“My mother — who has never met my son — who only met my daughter once — when are they going to see each other?" he asked. "But I have faith that everything is going well — going to be well, and we’ll see each other soon.”
For that to happen might require a strong stance from the Ukrainian military and its allies — both of which Zhalkovskyi is very thankful for.
“We are proud of who we are, and we’re grateful for the United States for supporting who we are and for the freedom that it allows us to have," he said. "That gives me hope that things are going to go well in the end."
But if the going gets tough, Zhalkovskyi is asking for help from a higher power.
"Please pray for Ukraine," he said. "We need it and this time more than ever."