ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Alina Olshanetska made a hard journey from her home in Kyiv, Ukraine to New Mexico, one she wasn’t sure of making. She finally decided to leave her life there as Russia invaded.


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“Is 30 days ago today when the war was declared, a lot of people had to make a decision whether to evacuate or not. A lot of elderly are not capable to get out by themselves. They’re scared they don’t know what to do,” her daughter Diana Horak said.

Her daughter, Diana Horak, lives in Albuquerque and went on a mission to help her mother and her mother’s elderly friend to safety. “So I had two old ladies and the 16-year-old cat to evacuate,” Horak said.

Diana reached out to her friend, a minister in Ukraine who has been evacuating Ukrainians living in hotspots. “Everything that she owns right now fits into a little carry-on bag about the side size and a little purse like that,” Diana said.

It would be a long 12 days. “So she was driven from the center of Kyiv to the outskirts to safe place, and then she was picked up there by my friend and for two two and a half days she has basically driven around through safe routes to Western Ukraine,” Diana said.

Alina was in the van with others trying to safely get to a home set up as a refugee center. In the meantime, Diana and her 14-year-old daughter flew to Hungary. They walked across the border into Ukraine where they were reunited with Alina and delivered supplies.

“Have you don’t want to have hatred. But when you see what’s happening when you see the intensity of how, how devastated people are how many lives are lost, how many homes are lost, and your children are displaced, people are displaced. You just want to do something,” Diana said.

They made it back to Albuquerque this week. Alina is still having trouble sleeping. “She wasn’t feeling well. Like she kept playing in her head like the you know, the bomb, and that you hear the sounds so it takes her a while to fall asleep,” Diana said.

Diana is not sure her mother will make it back to Ukraine in her lifetime. “It’s extremely difficult her life is sandwiched between two wars. She was born right before World War Two. And at the end of her life, she has a Russian Ukrainian war,” Diana said.

She just hopes her mom will adjust to her new life in New Mexico. “She’s really glad to be here.”

Living Water UA and Freeway Crisis Fund were the organizations that assisted in Alina’s journey.