FAIRMONT — As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, Olga Buyaka struggles daily for accurate information about her aunt who is still in the war-torn capital, kyiv.
She said she tries to stay off social media and stays in touch with her cousin via text who is trying to get her mother out of town safely.
“I confirm every day that she is alive,” said Buyaka, an associate professor at John Chambers College of Business and Economics at West Virginia University. “We just message with more and respond with more-more. That way we know it’s positive.
One of the hardest realities for her since moving to the United States in 2008 after earning her doctorate in France, is explaining to people that the Russian war is nothing new. She said it had been going on since 2014.
“It really started in 2014 and has been brewing for a long time and we just need to get the truth out there,” she said.
Buyaka refers to the 2014 Ukrainian Dignity Revolution, which initially focused on Crimea and parts of the Donbass region, internationally recognized as part of Ukraine.
She said that since the outbreak of the 2022 attacks, the Ukrainian and Russian communities in Morgantown have come together to hold candlelight vigils and other events to show support for their country. However, the events are also meant to educate American residents who may not have accurate information about the unprovoked attack on Ukraine.
Buyaka said there are three essential things Americans can do to show support for their homeland. She said donating funds to humanitarian organizations should be at the top of the list, second, staying informed with accurate information and third, just praying.
She said her parents, who live with her family in Morgantown, were heartened to see West Virginians wearing pins bearing the map of Ukraine and government offices illuminating the exterior of their buildings in the colors of the Ukrainian flag. His son’s hockey team, the Morgantown Blades, placed Ukrainian flag stickers on their helmets to show solidarity with him and his family’s country.
In Fairmont, John Basagic erected a replica of the Ukrainian flag on the lawn of the old post office building at 200 Fairmont Ave.
Basagic said it was his way of showing his support for Ukraine.
“They need help, so it’s just a good thing to do,” Basagic said.
Basagic, who is 67, said he had family in that part of the world and was concerned about their well-being.
“Everyone has to do their little bit to help out,” Basagic said.
Meanwhile, in Washington, President Joe Biden announced on Wednesday that the United States was sending $500 million in direct aid to Ukraine on top of the $13.6 billion Congress approved earlier this month. this for Ukraine as part of a broader spending bill, as reported by The Associated Press. .
Buyaka said members of the Ukrainian community in Morgantown are preparing first aid kits and other packages for children who have fled to neighboring Poland for refuge.
“They need to see the world is with them,” Buyaka said.
Contact Eric Cravey at 304-367-2523.