Ukrainian pastor in Vancouver worries for loved ones amid beginning of Russian invasion

Published: Feb. 24, 2022 at 1:29 AM PST
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VANCOUVER, Wash. (KPTV) - Ukrainians in our area are worried about loved ones back home and what a Russian invasion will mean.

“In Ukraine it was 1984 when we married,” Pastor Paul Demyanik said as he showed us pictures of his family in a magazine.

He, his wife, and at that point two of his now three children moved to the U.S. from Ukraine in 1991, as the Soviet Union was falling.

“We came with just two suitcases, no money,” he said, sharing that they’ve now built a wonderful life here including the Ukrainian Baptist Church in Vancouver.

“It’s a blessed country, and we want to have the same in Ukraine for our people,” Pastor Demyanik said.

They still have relatives in Ukraine, including Demyanik’s father-in-law and brother-in-law, and they’re anxiously watching as Russian forces move in.

“It’s a really tough time because they are ready for war,” he said. “We are in the United States but spiritually, mentally we are with them.”

He said every member of this congregation has loved ones there.

They fear the tragedy and toll of what’s to come, and Demyanik mentioned the reservists being called upon to defend their country.

“We wish for all people to be alive and live, and there is no reason to begin a war and we are still worried about it,” he said.

Sunday evening members of his congregation and other Ukrainians in our area will be gathering at Ukrainian Bible Church in Fairview with medicine and supplies that they plan to send to the Ukrainian army and hospitals.