A wave of despair and horror washed over Nataliya Laptyk late Wednesday evening in Sherbrooke, as news started to spread of Russia’s unprovoked declaration of war on Ukraine.
Laptyk was born in Ukraine. She grew up in Zhytomyr, a city of just over 250,000 people and only two hours away from Kyiv, the country’s capital, where residents have been forced to flee or seek shelter in subway stations and basements in an effort to avoid Russian forces.
Laptyk was horrified when she heard of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It took her a few minutes to understand the gravity of the situation, she told The Record in a phone interview. She thought it was just another intimidation strategy used by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
“It was horrible and I could never think of that happening in 2022. I have family there, I have friends there, and I’m just worried sick. Every minute I’m trying to get in touch with my parents, with the people who are there, to check if they’re doing fine,” said Laptyk.
She immigrated to Canada in 2017. She was living in Montreal before deciding to move to Sherbrooke in 2021. She wanted to get away from the city due to the pandemic. But she’s restless right now. And she won’t find peace of mind until she knows her family is safe.