Breaking News
More () »

Penn State University Ukrainian students following crisis closely

Newswatch 16's Chris Keating spoke with some in a Ukrainian student group who are monitoring the situation.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — As the conflict continues between Russia and Ukraine, some Ukrainian students at Penn State tell Newswatch 16 their friends and family members back home aren't backing down.

"At this point, I think I would consider myself quite numb. I think I have cried myself out as much as I could have, unfortunately. We remain high in hopes and we stay updated and are informed," said Sophia Datsko, vice president of the Penn State Ukrainian Society.

So far, the conflict has resulted in over 100 Ukrainian deaths. Students say they know of friends who are ready to fight.

"One of our neighbors volunteered to go and fight and I think he is 60 years old and he went because he straight up said, 'I am going to die for my country. I am going to die fighting,'" said Maria Smereka, president of the Penn State Ukrainian Society.

"A fellow Ukrainian friend of mine who was located in the U.S. and was on a tour here is returning back. He hasn't seen his wife and two children in several months, but he is returning back and is carrying weapons and is preparing to mobilize," Datsko said.

The Ukrainian Society at Penn State held an impromptu rally earlier this week. Many folks showed up to support Ukraine.

"We are not physically in Ukraine. We have an ocean separating us, so it is really surreal and heartbreaking to see innocent civilians being killed, being bombed, being run over by tanks. That is why we came together yesterday to do something about it," Smereka said.

According to the group, there are a number of ways you can support Ukraine locally.

"RAZOM for Ukraine, if you look that up they have a list of different sources where you can keep yourself informed and also organizations that have been verified and checked that are giving money to the Ukrainian military, to civilians, and to families that are being affected."

The Ukrainian Society at Penn State will hold a rally in front of Old Main on Penn State's Main Campus on March 3 at 5 p.m. All are welcome to attend.

Check out WNEP’s YouTube page.   

Before You Leave, Check This Out