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Las Vegas woman worried for father who is volunteering in Ukraine

By Lauren Martinez

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    LAS VEGAS (KVVU) — A Ukrainian-born Las Vegas woman said she is worried for her family and friends as Russians seized her home city.

Milena Ivashchenko was born and raised in Kherson, a southern city of Ukraine. Her father, both grandmothers and other family members are still there as Russia has taken over the region.

“I’ve been going … between angry and crying. There’s definitely a lot of emotions,” she said.

Her father has worked with the Red Cross since 2014 and remains in Ukraine as a volunteer distributing food in hard-to-reach areas.

“He’s definitely in danger. What we have seen is that even though Russian troops promise not to target civilian population, they do,” Ivashchenko said.

He told her mother he retrieved two bodies of Ukrainian military men.

“Russian troops have been allowing them to collect dead bodies, he has retrieved two bodies of dead Ukrainians,” Ivashchenko said.

Right now there is no safe passage to get food in or out of the region.

“Since he is kind of out there … doing this, providing people with food … he’s a target. Because what do you do in order to take a country down? You take away their food, you kind of starve them into submission and you take out people who are preventing people from starving you to submission,” Ivashchenko said.

She was told that in two to three days, they would be dealing with a humanitarian crisis, since there is no way to deliver supplies.

“We’ll be seeing a lot of unnecessary suffering and unnecessary death, not because somebody is killing them, because there’s just no food,” Ivashchenko said.

She was one of just over 100 people who gathered on the Las Vegas Strip on Saturday to rally in support of Ukraine. She said there were a lot of Ukrainians, Russians and other Eastern Europeans. She said she hopes more Americans will show support for the next rally planned for this Saturday.

“Maybe the rally doesn’t do anything political, but it shows the world that people are against this,” Ivashchenko said. The peace rally is scheduled for 3 p.m. March 5 in front of Las Vegas City Hall.

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