Living in America while my country Ukraine is under attack


Photo courtesy Julia Lvovsky

Junior Julia Lvovsky, her father, Steven Lvovsky and his wife, Eira Lvovsky, are a Ukrainian American family. Despite living in America they feel the impact of the war deeply.

In 1979 my father, Славик Лвовский, Slovick Lvovsky, emigrated from Donetzk, Ukraine, to Silver Spring, Maryland, USA. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter allowed Jews from the Soviet Union to immigrate to America if they had family members residing in the country. My father had an aunt in Silver Spring and decided to immigrate. During his immigration process, he was forced to live in Rome, Italy, for two months as he waited for his American Visa. 

After arriving in America, he was granted full citizenship in 1981, where he enrolled as a  student at Woodward High School in Montgomery County. From the time he immigrated, until 2003, he did not visit Ukraine because the Soviet Union and the United States had immense conflict limiting all Americans from traveling across their border.  This especially affected Ukrainian immigrants such as my father who sought to visit his home where most of his friends and family lived.

In 2014 he met his current wife, Eira in Kyiv, Ukraine, on a visit. For two Ukrainian immigrants living in America, it was important for them to embrace their heritage rather than completely assimilate into American culture. Each year we maintain our culture by going to a Ukrainian festival in Silver Spring. We also eat Ukrainian food from the store, European Delights, including borscht, cutlets, pelmeni (dumplings), and other foods from our culture.

Starting in 2004, my father traveled to Ukraine three times a year with his best friend, who had also immigrated. My father and I had planned a trip for my first visit to Ukraine in the summers of 2021 and 2022 where I could experience the beauty of a culture I had only heard about. However, due to COVID-19 the trip was canceled and I never had the opportunity. This was especially disheartening as I wanted to connect with my roots and immerse myself in the true Ukrainian culture. 

Since Feb. 20, 2014, Russia and Ukraine have been in a cold war. They have been fighting over land including Crimea and Donetzk. On Thursday, Feb. 24, just three weeks ago, the unthinkable happened: Russian President Vladimir Putin declared war on Ukraine. Every day, Ukrainian immigrants and I are forced to watch our loved ones on television and social media fight for their survival, while we sit at home, feeling like we can make little to no impact.

Being a Ukrainian-American, my family and I are in disbelief over the fact that this is occurring in the 21st Century. We are angry and helpless in America. Eira’s family still resides in Kremenchuk, Ukraine. Every day we talk to Eiras’s family and we pray for their lives as they sleep in a bomb shelter, unbeknownst to us if it will be the last time we are able to speak to them. We feel useless but want to show our support, therefore we hung a Ukrainian flag on our door. We know that this virtually does nothing, but maybe it will light a spark for someone when walking past our house and they will remember to donate. Once the war is over my father and his wife will directly go to Ukraine and give support in whatever way possible. 

This war has had an impact on many families across the world. Like others, we are trying to help Ukraine by sending money and prayers to friends, but it is very hard for our efforts to reach Ukraine. Our hope is that the West will help out Ukraine against Russia. Although Ukraine is the underdog, they are putting up a good fight. “The Ukrainian president is a hero and a very brave, true leader. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is staying in Kyiv and not running away. I am very happy that Ukraine is putting up a fight and in good hands,” my father said. 

It is imperative that people become educated and involved in our global political climate. Anyone can help by donating money to trusted organizations. Ukraine is in critical need of food and weapons, so put pressure on your elected representatives to send supplies to Ukraine. We must stop the cruel and unimaginable suffering of men, women and children who just want peace. We send our support to everyone fighting in Ukraine and encourage people to get educated on this war. 

Below are trusted sources regarding the conflict between Russia and Ukraine: