Ukrainian exchange student at Vienna High School reacts to Russian invasion

A Ukrainian student in the Heartland reacts to the Russia invasion from afar.
Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 5:53 PM CST
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VIENNA, Ill. (KFVS) - Ukrainians in the United States are dealing with a war that is half a world away, staying in contact by phone and social media.

A sophomore at Vienna High School shared with us the challenges his family is currently facing while their country is under attack.

“I woke them up, I said it started,” Mark Sharovarov said.

Mark Sharovarov thinks back to last Wednesday when he called his family to break the news that Russia invaded their country.

They told him about the air raid sirens going off in their community.

“So I heard that there was like for the last two days the alarm which says there is danger in the air, it might just be passing through us or anything but it was going off,” Sharovarov said.

Now his family has packed up and traveled to western Ukraine to find safety.

“You do not know where is the safer spot. It’s just right now the spot where it’s just less shooting was in the past six days and everything,” he said.

He said his family is safe, unlike others.

“It’s a really bad situation going on,” he said.

During this hard time, he said he feels supported here in the Heartland.

“People are really good here, so they help each other which is really, really good,” he said.

“The kids are really concerned for mark and his family,” said history teacher Brandon McKinney.

“We had a prayer circle on Monday and had a large group down there and I kind of did a little background of history with what’s going on with Ukraine’s past as far as how it used to be a member of the soviet union and how it got its independence in ‘91 and then some up to dates now,” he said.

Brandon McKinney said his students have a lot of questions about the Russian invasion.

“The biggest thing that they keep asking about is just the resolve of the Ukrainian people, how they are standing up against the second biggest military in the world and doing everything they can to fight it. I wish they would have looked at this incident without mark being here but with mark being such a big part of our school, our students are really invested in what’s going on in Ukraine,” he said.

Sharovarov said he misses peace.

“‘Cause even leaving here when there’s nothing going on there, it’s kind of like, we’ll be back sooner or later, everything will be the same but right now you don’t know what’s going to happen, when it will be over if it’s going to be over, just no war, please,” he said.

Sharovarov said Ukrainians appreciate the donations from all over the world.

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