Ukrainian Mother Escapes War, Now Safe in Montana
Her mother is now safe in Billings, Montana. Yuliya Johnson lives in Billings, Montana and is a native of the war-torn nation of Ukraine. For weeks, her mother had to hide in her basement to escape the Russian bombing campaigns.
Yuliya was able to reunite with her mother, Marina Petrusenko, in Slovakia, and is now happy to report that her mom is now safe in Montana. She says "it was quite the journey, but we made it."
Yuliya: From 24th of February, like your normal life is just like the end. Because she was constantly, like you say, she was constantly in the bomb shelter, she went to the basement to be protected from the bombing.
The building in front of her mother's house was "totally destroyed."
Aaron Flint: What was the moment like when your mother first made it to American soil, when you and your mom first got back on American soil?
Yuliya: I wanted to cry. But I did not have tears. We cannot believe that we actually did it because it was so many difficulties. So many things that we saw that maybe we need to stay in Europe for longer, that all the papers that we have not good enough.
Aaron Flint: Was there something your mother said to you that that stood out throughout this journey?
Yuliya: When I met her in Slovakia, she was just- she told me that she did not believe already that she will see me ever again. When she was back in Suma (Ukraine) every time we finish off, we kind of knew that this can be one of the last one because we don't know what happens in the next moment. And sometimes she was like, 'Oh, now they're shooting very bad.' Or- 'I can hear the Jets.' I cannot tell you now. And of course when we met each other it was like we have new life again.
Here's the full audio of our chat with Yuliya on Monday's "Montana Talks with Aaron Flint."