Family fleeing war-torn Ukraine land in North Port, share heart-wrenching story

Reporter: Sydney Persing
Published: Updated:

Evelina is three months old. She’s a happy little girl, too young to realize there’s a major war happening, and too young to understand she’s a refugee.

Evelina’s parents, Oleskii and Lyudamila Barskovech fled Ukraine on February 28 along with their two other children – Emiliia and Daniel.

They slept in airports and traveled on trains for a month.

The family looked for help in Hungary, Slovakia, Poland, Germany, France, and Mexico, until they finally made it to North Port, Florida on Saturday.

Pastor Viktor Antipov of House of Mercy Church welcomed the family with open arms. And he translated our conversation.

Oleskii said, “The question still remains. Why are they so evil; to rape, to kill, to destroy civilian people?”

“I always dreamed for the best for my children,” Lyudamila added, “I never dreamed that we will have a war.”

But war isn’t a bad dream, it’s reality.

There’s smoke in the air and bodies in the streets where this family once had a home.

“When the bombs start to go off all over,” Lyudamila recalled. “My children first said, ‘Mom let’s go from here please.’ We can’t see this, we can’t hear this.”

We asked Lyudamila what she left behind. “Relatives,” she said, “And of course, everything. All belongings.” Leaving with only what would fit in carry-on luggage.

Their emotion is raw and very real.

Even pastor Viktor felt it as he translated, tearing up while translating Lyudamila saying “I’m sorry. I’m really worried about Ukraine. As a country, relatives, but I’m happy that my children are safe here.”

You should know, that while there is so much death and destruction in Ukraine, there is hope in this tiny North port Ukrainian church.

Lyudamila and Oleskii see it in Evelina’s smile, in Daniel’s eyes, and in Emeliia’s skip.

Oleskii said, “I want my kids to accept this as a privilege to come here. It’s a good thing to be here.

“We trust the Lord he will take care of us,” Lyudamila added. “He never left us behind.”

They have their faith and each other because other than that, they don’t have much.

The church is doing its best to assist and right now they are fundraising to buy Oleskii a minivan and helping him look for a job.

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