NJ families with loved ones in Ukraine sit by helpless as Russian invasion continues

For some New Jersey families who have loved ones in Ukraine, the war with Russia is much closer to home. They say they are living with it every moment and are in constant worry. The families say they are always trying to contact relatives or search for information on the latest attack.
Vadym Blyznuk and his wife Olena say that while most Americans may see footage coming out of Ukraine and think of soldiers fighting in a war zone, they see a neighborhood street that they are used to walking down with family. Relatives who live close to the gunfire are not able to evacuate.
“As of now it’s safer to stay at home. If we could get them out, we’d love to,” Blyznuk says. “We are constantly with them on the phone. Five, six, 10 times a day.
Blyznuk’s brother Igor lives in Kyiv, as do Olena’s parents Ivan and Tanya. Ivan is a plumber who has the keys to basements in nearby buildings.
“Those basements are being used as bomb shelters, so every time there’s a warning, he has to open those basements,” Blyznuk says.
Olena’s brother has joined the “territory defense” – civilians who are fighting back. He sent back a video of weapons and ammunitions, men working to build trenches and blockades. There are images of Russian weapons abandoned and buildings in the city of Harkeve destroyed.
Blyznuk has been sending money to help refugees now living in western Ukraine. He is even arranging for evacuations from Kyiv.
“We are looking to buy a car for one of the guys willing to go to Kyiv and if he survives, to bring people to different cities,” Blyznuk says.
When asked what was the most disturbing aspect about everything happening, Blyznuk responded, "Probably knowing that any minute could be the last minute with us talking to [my family].”
The church located at 44 Magiera St. in South River is accepting donations that will be sent to help refugees. They are accepting items like food, clothing and military gear.