COLORADO SPRINGS — News 5 has been following the story of a Colorado Springs musician from Ukraine whose parents were in Kharkiv when Russia invaded back in February.
Sergei Vassiliev reunited with his parents for the first time since the war began. They're visiting Colorado Springs for a few weeks on a Tourist Visa. It's a trip planned before the war, but now all the more meaningful after overcoming so many obstacles.
Oleksiy Kosman and Olga Vasylyeva had to escape the war on Day 6 after Russian forces fired rockets on the city.
"Their trip to Slovakia was very difficult. There were road blocks everywhere, Ukrainian military people with weapons, they had to spend the night at volunteers houses because there were no hotels. They had a dog, a little dog that behaved really well. The first night was very hard, they had to sleep with clothes on and it was very cold. They couldn't drink even tea," said Sergei.
Three days on the road, scared to lose their way with the war raging around them.
"She doesn't understand how you can go and kill innocent children and elderly people who are dying from hunger. Her second cousin died three days ago, and her oldest son is in Kharkiv right now. The explosion downtown, a young 45-year-old friend died in that bombing," said Sergei.
The war taking a heavy toll on this close knit family, particularly the youngest of them.
"She wants to tell a story about her grandchild. When she lived under bombardment under five days then went to Slovakia. After sometime in Slovakia, there was a big thunderstorm and very loud thunder. She ran into the kitchen and was shaking. She thought it was a bombing, we calmed her down and told her it was a thunderstorm," said Sergei. "Their other grandchild was very happy, laughing all of the time, dancing, and playing piano. Now they see her in photos and videos, her eyes are very dark and in shock."
Oleksiy and Olga are staying hopeful for the future. They're looking forward to returning home, and rebuilding what was lost.
"We are teachers, we want to teach kids. We have the best students. There are five or six people from their school who live in America who are the best in the world. We want to continue what we do," said Sergei.
"Everyone in Ukraine wants the war to end as soon as possible, but we just don't have the weapons. The whole world is helping, and it is coming. We just need some time to concentrate all of the powers, and energy. They're not just hopeful, they're absolutely confident that Ukraine will win." said Sergei.
Sergei says fewer donations have been coming in since the war progressed. He encourages the community to help anyway they can with the conflict.