HOUSTON — The effects of the war in Ukraine are being felt thousands of miles away.
Many people were draped in Ukrainian flags and were holding signs in support of the country being invaded by Russian forces.
Polina Malinowska, 27, showed up with a few friends. Two days ago, she said she fled her home in Kyiv. She described what it was like in her home country.
“It’s hard to explain because when you’re going in a car and the bridge behind you blowing up and you don’t know what to do,” Malinowska said.
She fled to Moldova then Romania and finally Turkey before being able to get to the U.S.
However, while Polina made it out, her family remains trapped. She lives with her mother and grandmother. Her mom forced her to flee while she stayed to take care of her grandmother, who isn’t healthy enough to travel.
“Calling every two minutes ... texting ... checking the news every minute because you don’t know, every second the bomb can go to the house," Malinowska said.
According to the UN, over 1.5 million people have fled Ukraine as President Volodymyr Zelensky continues to ask that a “No Fly Zone” be established over Ukraine, something the West has strongly resisted.
For those Ukranian civilians still on the ground, Polina said they’re haunted by the sounds of war, even in moments of silence.
“My family, we were talking today, and they told me it’s silence right now but we are feeling more anxiety when it’s silence because these 10 days we get used to the sound of the bombs," she said.
Now staying with friends in Galveston, Polina appreciates the support of crowds all over the world.
"It means a lot for each Ukrainian," Malinowska said.
But even though she's now in the U.S., she fears not being able to help her mom and grandma who she’s praying remain safe.
“Even just every 15 minutes I ask them to text me… ‘Alive,’ ‘Alive,’ ‘Alive’ because it’s impossible to understand that you can talk with your family for the last time,” she said.