'New life has begun': Ukrainian family with newborn escapes to Durham as Russian forces attack home

ByLaura Browne via WTVD logo
Tuesday, July 19, 2022
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"God was so merciful to us," Anatolii Tarasiuk said while safe and surrounded by his wife and three young children.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Shock and disbelief circled Kyiv resident Anatolii Tarasiuk's mind when he, his pregnant wife Katya Tarasiuk and their two young children learned that Russia had invaded Ukraine and started a war.

Soon after the invasion, Anatolii got a phone call from a friend warning him that fully armed Russian helicopters were just miles away.

"That time I realized we're really in danger. Danger is next. So close," Anatoli Tarasiuk said, holding back tears.

Immediately Anatolii knew he and his family needed to get out of the country, but their trek that would eventually land them in Durham, North Carolina, was not an easy one.

They traveled west in an attempt to distance themselves from the fighting, as safety remained a top priority for the Tarasiuks, especially with a baby on the way.

Complete strangers helped the family on their journey west.

"God was so merciful to us," Anatolii Tarasiuk said. "The place (that) we found was just unbelievable. He gave us the place--it wasn't me who found it--and travel was safe."

While in Ukraine awaiting the arrival of their child, the Tarasiuks heard many heartbreaking stories from survivors, but they also heard many inspiring stories of miracles.

SEE ALSO: 4-year-old girl killed by a Russian missile, as fighting intensifies

Shortly before Katya Tarasuik would give birth, the Russian military attacked a maternity ward and children's hospital in Mariupol. It was an attack that shook the family to their core.

When the day came for Katya to give birth, the Tarasiuks believe they received a miracle from God. The entire day, not a single warning siren sounded. No attacks came. Katya was free to give birth in the normal hospital room, instead of having to evacuate to a bomb shelter during labor.

The very next day, reality returned. Sirens rang out all day long, forcing the family into the hospital's bomb shelter for long periods of time.

"It's so uncomfortable because, those basements--the conditions there are terrible," Katya said.

Following the birth of their youngest son, the family was able to make plans to leave Ukraine together. With funds and donations provided to them through the help of Catch the Fire Church, they finally arrived in the United States on July 15.

SEE ALSO: Raleigh based restaurant sets goal to raise money to benefit Ukraine

Unfortunately, the family's trials and tribulations are not completely over.

The Tarasiuks remain in great need of a car and future housing. Additionally, Anatolii was recently diagnosed with adenocarcinoma and needs treatment, according to Debbie Marino, owner of Prophetics Gallery, to which he is a contributing artist.

Anatolii requests that folks offer prayers and consider donating to people who still remain in Ukraine.

Though the family said it is difficult to be away from their home, Anatolii said that being in the U.S. after living in war-torn Ukraine is the beginning of a new chapter for his family.

"It's absolutely a different story and we believe it's--new life has begun for us, for our family," Anatolii said.