dr Julia Jame, Clear Lake’s mother, rescued children from Ukraine when the invasion began

CLEAR LAKE, Texas (KTRK) – A week after rescuing her children and parents from Ukraine, Dr. Julia James no time to fight for her country.

“We’re here to say, ‘Stop the war. Stop Putin. Stop Russian aggression,’” James said as she stood in front of Space Center Houston and Johnson Space Center at 1 Nasa Road, holding the yellow and blue Ukrainian flag.

“I am sending a message to the Russian people, to the Russian cosmonauts, that there is a bloody war in Ukraine,” she said.

James, a self-proclaimed space enthusiast, said she made contact with Russian cosmonauts from her home in League City.

As a former university professor in Europe, she often set up virtual conferences between cosmonauts and their students. Using those connections, she began reaching out to the same executives, and her responses over the past week, she says, have been shocking, to say the least.

“They say Ukraine is bombing itself,” James said.

James witnessed the wrath of war first hand when he traveled back to her hometown of Voznesens’k, located in southern Ukraine near the Black Sea. There she rescued her children, who had lived with their grandparents to study for a semester.

“So the plan was to study in a Ukrainian school in the second semester to learn the language,” she said.

Her daughter, 14-year-old Valerie, and son, 8-year-old Alexander, split their education between Texas (where they were born) and Ukraine. James proudly announces that her children speak three languages: English, Ukrainian and Russian.

But this semester, that long-established routine changed rapidly. James rushed to Ukraine on February 21, crossing the country to be reunited with her children and parents.

Four days later, she set off for Hungary with her two children, two other children of friends, one 16-year-old and one 20-year-old. The line of cars to be crossed was six hours long.

Her parents fled two days later, and by then it was a mad rush.

“They just jumped to the car and (drove). They jumped in the car and drove as fast as they could,” James said. “They only fled with backpacks.”

The family made it to Hungary, then flew from Budapest to Miami via Warsaw. It was in Florida that they reunited with James’ brother.

The 16-year-old teenager, whom they also helped evacuate, stayed in Europe. The 20-year-old friend took family to Houston, where she joined James, Valerie and other neighbors at a rally at 1 Nasa Road.

“This is not just for the Ukrainian war. This is a war for the whole world,” James said.

To learn more about this story, follow Shelley Childers Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Dais Johnston

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