ROBERTSDALE, Ala. (WKRG) — On a playground in Robertsdale, the sounds of laughter and children playing. For Iryna Krokhmal and her children Oleg, Masha and Victoria, it is a respite from a war half a world away.
“From the first day of war my husband psychologically prepared me for the fact that we would need to be separated and I would need to take children and go to another country in a safe place,” said Irnya.
From a small town in the Odessa region of Ukraine, her journey began five days after the war started. “I could not stop crying. I ask him that I could stay with him at least for one more day. But, he told me children needed to be raised in safety. He did not want them to see the missiles flying above our heads,” she said.
We spoke to her with the help of a translator and family friend Slavik Rimskii. “Vitalli, Irnya’s husband, are best buddies. We have been friends since we were able to walk under the table.”
With Russian troops approaching, Irnya and the children left Ukraine traveling to almost a dozen cities in five different countries before eventually arriving in Robertsdale. “Oleg my oldest and my older daughter were very excited they were shouting, hey we are going on vacation because we have never been outside of Ukraine and they were thrilled that we were going to another country,” she said.
Currently, they are being hosted by a member of the First Baptist Church in Robertsdale. “I’m blessed to be able to learn the language because my English skills are very limited. I learn how to drive because in America it is hard to live without a car.”
But her heart and hopes remain in Ukraine where her husband, sister, brother and mother remain.
For now, she holds on to a promise made by her husband, “I will come and will bring you back home when we celebrate the victory.” A day she hopes will come soon so their children can once again play and laugh at home in Ukraine.