Ukrainians living in Central Florida react to worst fear becoming reality

Local Ukrainian-run nonprofit helps provide aid to Ukraine

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – Iryna Discipio, a Ukrainian national living in Florida, is pleading for the international community to help her people.

“We’re kind of losing because we don’t have that much defensive weapons,” Discipio said. “Send NATO. NATO forces, boots on the ground. At least like defensive weapons. We’ve been asking for 8 years.”

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The Russian invasion has hit major cities around Ukraine, including along the eastern and southern border with Russia.

“And all over the Russia and Crimea, so all we have is west so a lot of refugees go that way right now. My parents are still in Kyiv,” Discipio said. “My dad was a policeman for 25 years so he is a tough core person so I don’t know he will leave his home.”

Discipio is now preparing to help as many wounded Ukrainian soldiers as possible through her nonprofit Revived Soldiers Ukraine, which she founded after the conflict between Ukraine and Russia began in 2014.

“Actually, right now we have two wounded soldiers in Orlando at the prosthetics and orthopedics associate,” she said. “We’ve been working a lot trying to raise a lot of money trying to purchase first aid, the blood, cloths.”

Vasyl Luschyk moved from Ukraine two years ago to Central Florida. He believes Russia’s intent is just the start of something worse to come.

“All the European nations are trying to unite right now and support Ukraine because next will be Poland, whatever Baltic countries they’re on the target,” Luschyk said.

The majority of his relatives are in Ukraine.

“I was not sleeping all night just praying for them because I’m feeling powerless here,” he said.

But just days before the attack on his country, his 18-year-old daughter arrived in Orlando.

“It was like a relief because the first flight was changed, like delayed, and she finally got here Sunday,” Luschyk said.

For more information on Discipio’s nonprofit, Revived Soldiers Ukraine, and to make a donation, visit their website.

To find resources and ways to help or donate to people in Ukraine, visit Care.org or Project C.U.R.E.


About the Author:

Carolina Cardona highlights all Central Florida has to offer in her stories on News 6 at Nine. She joined News 6 in June 2018 from the Telemundo station in Philadelphia.