WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Many people are fleeing Ukraine and going to nearby countries to escape the Russian invasion.

In western Massachusetts there are large eastern European communities that are standing together for Ukraine. As the situation intensifies and the Russian forces persist in Ukraine, many communities here in Massachusetts are turning to prayer and hope to get through this difficult time.

Yana Khomichuk, a Ukrainian living in Westfield, told 22News, “The only thing we can do right now is pray, and that’s the most powerful thing I think that we can do is pray. And to stick together.”

As Russian forces continue to move into Ukraine, we see lines of cars filled with women and children’s
trying to escape the country, families separated, men staying back to fight, series of explosions, and hospitals over run as they try to take on the many soldiers and civilians that are dead and wounded.

“I have family members who are in Kyiv so they are in the capital and they are hiding in basements and subway stations,” Khomichuk said. “We have some family members who have escaped to Poland, you just see families being torn apart basically.”

People here in western Massachusetts are coming together. Local parishes are raising money and supplies to send to Ukraine, and holding rosary services to pray as a community.

Father Andry Krip from Saints Peter and Paul Ukrainian Catholic Church told 22News, “The community of my parish are also worried. There is hope that we will be able to get through it and we’ll be able to survive and not be occupied by Russia.”

“I’m a Christian so my ultimate hope is in the Lord and only he can intervene in a situation like this,” Khomichuk said.

The people of Ukraine have hope in the face of uncertainty as they stand together both here in western Massachusetts, but all around the world.