As Russian forces continue their assault on Ukraine, multiple Chicagoans with relatives in the country say they're anguished, but determined to bring their families to safety.
Marianna Piatkivska's 85-year-old grandmother and 14-year-old cousin are from western Ukraine and are experiencing multiple bomb alerts a day.
"Western Ukraine gladfully is not as bad yet," Piatkivska said. "Living under like bomb alerts and going into basements a couple of times a night, even a couple times a day, is devastating. I just want them to be in safety, at least the elderly and children."
Piatkivska's husband has set off for Poland to bring both relatives back to Chicago.
Another Chicago resident, Dmytro Petruk, has numerous relatives in Ukraine. His sister, her husband and their children live about 30 miles outside of Kyiv.
"Three times or four times a day they are running to kind of a basement," he said. "That's actually their life for the past eight days."
Petruk's relatives didn't leave at first, because they operate a business. But after Russian forces seized Europe's largest nuclear plant Friday in a chilling attack, they decided to head to western Ukraine.
"The first night when I just found out that Russia started bombing Ukraine, I couldn't help myself. I started crying like a baby," he said.
Both Petruk and Piatkivska have the same message for President Biden and NATO.
"We need to try somehow to protect the sky," Petruk pleaded. "I 100% am sure Ukrainians they can handle Russians on the ground, on the land, but it's really difficult from the air."
"Help us close the sky," Piatkivska stated. "They are destroying our cities to ashes."
For those wondering how to support the people of Ukraine, verified groups are accepting donations for medical supplies and humanitarian aid. More information can be found here.