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Shamokin pastor worried about family in Ukraine

The crisis in Ukraine is hitting home for a lot of people in our area. A pastor in Northumberland County is from Ukraine and his family still lives there.

SHAMOKIN, Pa. — The doors are open for people to come and pray at Transfiguration Ukrainian Catholic Church in Shamokin. Fr. Mykola Ivanov is monitoring the Russian invasion closely, not just because he was born and raised in Ukraine.

"I have parents over in Ukraine, in Lviv, and an older brother; he is 7 years older. My wife has a mother and a brother," Fr. Ivanov said.

Fr. Ivanov and his wife moved to the United States in 2005, and they have lived in Shamokin for eight years. They were both born in Lviv, Ukraine, about one hour from Poland. They worry about their family members who right now do not want to leave Ukraine.

"I was telling them to look for a different kind of place to hide because if they go to this basement of this nine-story building and it collapses, they're going to be buried alive there."

Fr. Ivanov thinks the U.S. should be doing more to help Ukraine.

"Those who promised our security, they have to say something, otherwise my country will be destroyed."

Fr. Ivanov says he would like to see the U.S. send weapons to Ukraine.

"Any kind of things that we could send to them that the Ukrainian army could be trained in hours, just in hours, doesn't involve months of training," Fr. Ivanov said.

For now, the pastor says all he can do is pray.

"The time when you're supposed to be next to your parents and be protection for your parents, you cannot. This feeling is overwhelming."

Fr. Ivanov says his church in Shamokin will open daily for people to come and pray. He will also hold additional services.

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