Port Charlotte man’s father trapped in Ukraine with little access to necessities

Reporter: Emma Heaton Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:

A Southwest Florida man is pleading for help for his father, who is trapped in a besieged territory in Ukraine. This Port Charlotte man says his 75-year-old father is stuck where Russian troops are attacking outside of the capital city of Kyiv.

So far, this dad is having a difficult time getting basic needs like food and water. Romulus Sugar told WINK News that he feels helpless. His elderly father is in the middle of a war zone without resources or money, and there’s nothing he can do to help.

The messages tell the story of another Port Charlotte man trapped by Russians in Berdiansk, Ukraine. That man is Romulus Sugar’s 75-year-old father, Sanford.

“Every once in a while, he gets some signal. And he can, you know, I talk to him or call him or something. But… but usually, it’s like through text messages,” said Sugar.

Sanford moved to Ukraine with his wife five years ago for retirement. They tried to escape as the invasion began but didn’t get very far.

“Thousands of cars, and they only had one gas station around. They couldn’t get to it. And then, like a couple of days later they tried again, and there were tanks that came over and started shooting at other tanks. So they turned around and went back to their place,” Sugar said.

Their place refers to the fifth floor of a condo building that is now surrounded by Russian forces. And, as Sanford’s message so this son show, that building is now without heat, water, and electricity.

“He is trying to keep himself warm. But you know, it’s just total darkness that there is not much over there,” said Sugar.

“At night, they turn off everything. They don’t want to put any even candles on because, you know, they don’t know if they gonna start shooting through the windows,” Sugar said.

And Sugar said that being a U.S. citizen has not offered any protection. “If he goes outside, they can beat his wife, and if they ask for ID and they see that he’s a citizen of a U.S., they might shoot him for retaliation,” said Sugar.

Sugar truly fears the worst for his father. “You saw the messages that he sent. He’s already basically giving up saying goodbye. And I don’t want to accept that,” he said.

The U.S. State Department suspended all operations at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, so there’s no help for his dad there. His best hope is for the fighting to end.

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