Mykhailo Ivaniuk has been worried sick for his family as Russian forces continue their attacks on his home country of Ukraine.
“They are relatively safe,” Ivaniuk, a Northwestern University student, told NBC 5. “They are right now staying in a secured location, and I have a lot of friends in Kyiv right now. All of them now are trying to stay in secured locations.”
Ivaniuk, a junior studying computer science as part of the Ukraine Global Scholars program, is doing whatever he can to assist those in his native country.
“We’re trying to help our people who are fighting in Ukraine as much as we can by doing different fundraisers, spreading awareness,” he said.
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Ivaniuk's father defended Ukraine eight years ago against Russian forces, and now he’s doing it all over again.
“Everyone is doing their part,” he said. “Right now is not the time for emotions. We have to be strong, and we have to help, and that way we’ll be able to win.”
Ivaniuk told NBC 5 his family prepared for the invasion by stocking up on necessary supplies. They’re now helping other Ukrainians who are fleeing from different regions.
“Every Ukrainian right now is scared but even though we’re scared, we’re not giving up," he stated. "We’re trying to do our best to defend our country."
Even though Ivaniuk is more than 5,000 miles away, he vows to defend his country to the very end and hopes more universities will condemn Vladimir Putin’s aggression and support their Ukrainian students.
“Just being silent in this situation is definitely helping these war criminals achieve their desired outcome," he said.