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Green Country Ukrainian woman fears for family in 'devastating' war

nicole miller.jpg
Posted at 10:21 PM, Mar 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-04 11:47:20-05

TULSA, Okla. — While the war in Ukraine is about 6,000 miles away, it's too close to home for one Owasso woman—in fact, it's happening right in her hometown.

“It’s just devastating," said Alla Miller.

Miller grew up in Berdyans'k, a city in southeastern Ukraine. It's now been taken over by Russian soldiers.

“City hall was taken," she said. "A few administrative buildings were taken.”

Miller moved to the United States in 1996. Many family and friends remain in Ukraine, including her 81-year-old father who doesn’t plan to leave.

“My dad is strong," she said. "He’s saying he’ll be alright because he used to live when the USSR was one large country. But young people, they absolutely hated it.”

Each day brings on new worries for Miller as she watches Russians invade her homeland from thousands of miles away. She hears stories from friends of women and children defending their towns. She uses social media to make sure her loved ones are okay.

“I’m watching my friends on Facebook and messenger like, if you see a green bubble, oh my God, they’re alright," Miller said. "They have internet and they’re alive.”

“I’ve been dealing with guilt at my family being there and me being here," said Nicole Miller, Alla's daughter.

Just last summer they were visiting friends and family in Ukraine, including some in Kyiv, where Nicole said the people are resilient.

“I think Ukraine will win," Nicole said. "Where I feel upset is what will happen to my family before then? Ukraine will be standing, but the people, we don’t know what will happen to them.”

Despite Russian troops repeatedly targeting Kyiv, their friends aren’t leaving. Everyone is holding onto hope for a better outcome.

“Anyone who is my age does not know Soviet times," Nicole said. "All they know is freedom. I don’t think they’re going to let go of it that easily.”

Nicole is organizing a "Solidarity with Ukraine" event this Saturday. It starts at 2 pm at John Hope Franklin Reconciliation Park in downtown Tulsa.

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