Elissa Petrenko is an San Antonio, Texan. She is a daughter, sister, wife, and soon-to-be mother. At 38 weeks pregnant she now flees Ukraine for her life, and for the life of her unborn baby.
While the situation in Ukraine is uncertain and scary for many there right now, a San Antonio woman who made the country her home for the past year, is fleeing while 38 weeks pregnant.https://t.co/qVrbqHUOmX
— News 4 San Antonio (@News4SA) February 26, 2022
It happened suddenly for Elissa, and her Husband Andrii, one day they are painting the nursery and putting together the crib their sweet baby will one day use. The next day they are grabbing the little they can to flee their beloved home as quickly as possible.
No Escape for Ukraine
Elissa and Andrii met through a mission program in Elissa’s church. Their love was long distance until Andrii proposed and Elissa moved to Ukraine with her new husband.
Now only a little over a year later Elissa is due to give birth any day. The stress and fear of the Russian invasion weighed heavily on her heart. In the middle of the night, Elissa and Andrii grabbed what they could to get her and their baby safely away from Kyiv.
Written down like this Zelenskiy’s address tonight reads like a powerful poem. pic.twitter.com/R915iHzc0v
— Shaun Walker (@shaunwalker7) March 6, 2022
Andrii stayed behind to help his mother who was traveling to them. They were later reunited as Andrii rushed to be with his wife.
The Petrenko’s were not the only ones affected. Neighbors and friends alike rushed their loved ones to railways, cars, and even walked if it meant getting away from the Russian attack.
Many, like Elissa and Andrii, leave everything behind, facing a new and treacherous world with little more than the clothes on their back.
Russia announced a cease-fire starting Monday morning and the opening of humanitarian corridors in several cities, a day after thousands of Ukrainian civilians attempting to flee sheltered from Russian shelling that pummeled the center, north and south. https://t.co/siwsE74PwE
— The Associated Press (@AP) March 7, 2022
God has blessed the Petrenko’s but not without hardship. Days have been spent on the road, sleepless nights as they searched for a safe place for Elissa to give birth and for their family to make a plan for the future.
Ukraine is making it illegal for any man between the ages of 18 and 60 to leave its borders. The fear of separation is real. Many of the Ukrainian people already feel its sting as fathers say goodbye to their children and wives at train stations. Women are fleeing in the family van seeking help from their neighbors in Poland.
BREAKING: Ukraine says it has reached a tentative agreement with Russia to organize safe corridors for civilians to evacuate and for humanitarian supplies to be delivered. Under the agreement, cease-fires would be observed where safe corridors are created. https://t.co/8mZYHvXBRr
— The Associated Press (@AP) March 3, 2022
Some wait in lines so long, and still, that their cars run out of gas and they must carry their children and a portion of what they ran with to the border.
Pray for Ukraine
Whatever your thought on the political motives of Russia and the leadership of Ukraine one thing is certain: It is the people who suffer.
A New York Times team witnessed the moment that civilians were fired upon in Irpin, Ukraine, just outside Kyiv. (This video contains scenes of graphic violence.) https://t.co/ukdsv7ZfFH pic.twitter.com/Sv6IyYBGcU
— The New York Times (@nytimes) March 6, 2022
Pray for the people of Ukraine, and for those lost souls who now mourn the loss of not just the lives they once lived but the lives of their loved ones left behind.
Whenever I hear that Russia has legitimate interests in #Ukraine, it makes me wonder what legitimate interest can justify shelling homes and residential areas, killing civilians. This is Nikolayev, just a moment ago.
This is a real tragedy. Putin must be stopped pic.twitter.com/v2ukx87mkr
— Hanna Liubakova (@HannaLiubakova) March 7, 2022
To follow Elissa and Andrii’s story follow them on Instagram @mrselissapetrenko and @andriy.coach. You can also follow, for more information, Elissa’s sister @bethany.beal, a member of “The Girl Defined” ministry in Texas, has been helping get information out about her sister and what is happening with the Ukrainian people.