A Houston-based Ukrainian fights to free his family from war-torn Ukraine

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) – Ukrainians in Houston are sharing their stories of their families in the war zone struggling to flee the Russian invasion.

Dmytrii Dolhov, 27, has lived and worked in Houston for two years. He says he observes images of war and destruction in Ukraine every day.

Dolhov grew up in the northeastern city of Sumy. He says his 51-year-old parents and 73-year-old grandmother were forced to flee the war-torn country shortly before the Russian invasion on February 24.

He said his family drove 28 hours from Sumy to the Ukraine-Moldova border. It was a journey that would normally take nine hours.

“Russia has always tried not to be really friendly to us,” Dolhov said. “Either ban our language or take our country.”

It’s a story he knew would eventually play out. He said his family had been together for about 10 days before his father had to kiss his wife and mother-in-law goodbye

“My father can’t go. You tried to leave several times. He can’t and because all men between 18 and 60 have to stay and defend the country,” Dolhov said.

Dolhov said the Russian invasion and the arduous journey to leave Ukraine is taking a physical toll on her family matriarch. He said his aged grandmother was getting weaker by the day and needed care. Her medication is running out and she cannot walk alone.

“She was on some medication, these are just shots. They went out,” Dolhov said. “You need more. But in a small town where they were just staying, there are no hospitals nearby and even if you can find the hospital, it is overflowing with casualties like from real battlefields.”

But he said his mom and grandma are keeping moving.

“We always expected it… something like that. So don’t be scared, I would say. They’re just very sad to be refugees,” he said.

Dolhov set up GoFundMe to fund the trip from his mother and grandmother in Romania to Germany and then to Poland by bus. He says they will need food, shelter and medicines along the way.

Dolhov said he doesn’t know if his family will ever be able to return home. He hopes the US government will do more by allowing Ukrainian refugees to enter America.

“I read on the internet that the US government is working on allowing Ukrainians who want to flee the war to maybe enter the United States without a visa to apply for refugee status. If that happens, I will ask them if they want to come.”

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Copyright © 2022 KTRK-TV. All rights reserved. A Houston-based Ukrainian fights to free his family from war-torn Ukraine

Dais Johnston

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