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Local Ukrainian restaurant owner speaks out about Russia-Ukraine conflict

Worldwide, people are sharing their support for Ukranians and surrounding nations caught in the violence.

Many local leaders and residents in the Valley have declared support for the Ukrainian people.

But for some, the invasion is hitting much closer to home for them.

Owner of ‘Haus of Pizza’ in Palm Desert, Iryna Pyle, was born and raised in Ukraine.

“They don’t know the real life right now in Ukraine,” Pyle said.

Pyle saying she is no stranger to these attacks. She said 8 years ago, Russians invaded her hometown in eastern part of the country. “Russian separatists took over homes, Russian troopers, Russian tanks, soldiers, military, they took over everything.”

Although she now lives here in the Valley, she’s worried for her mother and brother who still live in Ukraine.

“They’re afraid to travel, they’re afraid to leave their homes because anybody could take over their homes.”

And for many Ukrainians, these bombings and attacks have left them with no where to go.

“They have no choice. They’re just in a trap. They have no choice," Pyle added, "I remember when I was calling my mom when Putin was taking Ukraine. My mom was saying they have no water, they have no electricity, there is smoke everywhere. It is sad, very sad."

Another local resident, Alex Kvaliashvili, who’s from the country of Georgia – said seeing what’s happening in Ukraine now is like he’s reliving the Russian attacks on his hometown in 2008.

“Just a normal day for everyone. I went to work and bombings started, it was 11 o'clock... so many houses were destroyed. So many buildings, they started just bombing and bombing, then just started different place and it happened all around the Georgia not only my city, but my was mostly damaged mostly there. Some people died and so many buildings were absolutely destroyed.”

What to know as Russia attacks Ukraine:

Russian troops launched a broad, three-pronged assault on Ukraine that brought explosions and set off air raid sirens to the country’s capital, Kyiv, and other cities, shattering any remaining hope that a military conflict would be avoided.

Ukraine’s leadership said at least 40 people had been killed in what it called a “full-scale war” targeting the country from the east, north and south. It said Russia’s intent was to destroy the state of Ukraine, a Western-looking democracy intent on escaping Moscow’s orbit.

As Ukrainian forces fought back and civilians piled into trains and cars to flee, NATO and European leaders rushed to respond, if not directly in Ukraine, with strong financial sanctions against Russia and moves to strengthen their own borders.

In a televised address as the attack began, Russian President Vladimir Putin said it was needed to protect civilians in eastern Ukraine, where Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists have been fighting for almost eight years.

The U.S. had predicted Putin would falsely claim that the rebel-held regions were under attack to justify an invasion.

The Russian leader warned other countries that any attempt to interfere in Ukraine would “lead to consequences you have never seen in history” — a dark threat implying Russia was prepared to use its nuclear weapons.

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Samantha Lomibao

Samantha joined KESQ News Channel 3 in May 2021. Learn more about Samantha here here.


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