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Ukrainian woman in the midst of war describes how her world changed overnight

Last week, Bohdana Vavrynchuk was daydreaming about her next vacation. Now, she and her friends are preparing Molotov cocktails to use if Russian forces get to Lviv.

LVIV, Ukraine — The sound of sirens pierced the air around Bohdana Vavrynchuk. That's the way it has been for the past four nights in Ukraine’s western city of Lviv, where the 30-year-old lives.

“I need to warn you that I’m in the parking [garage] because we just got missile sirens on ... it wasn’t expected, so my connection may be breaking,” Vavrynchuk told 13News reporter Emily Longnecker on Sunday morning.

Last week, Vavrynchuk was living with her partner in an apartment, working as a technical project manager for a software company. 

Credit: Bohdna Vavrnchuk.
Bohdna Vavrnchuk.and friends embark on a road trip in November of 2021.

Within days she was holed up with several of her friends in the same home, six of them staying together at night taking cover in a parking garage whenever sirens warned of a possible oncoming missile strike from Russian forces. 

Credit: Bohdna Vavrnchuk
Pictured is the parking garage where Bohdna Vavrnchuk and six friends are taking cover whenever sirens warn of a possible oncoming missile strike from Russian forces.

Vavrynchuk recalled the first night.

“When it all started, I was sleeping and I got a call from my American friends that the war started," she said.

“I was paralyzed for [the] first couple of days and was crying a lot because I could not really realize that this is the reality,” she added, saying she thought about trying to get to safety in Poland like thousands of Ukrainian refugees have done in the past several days. 

Credit: Bohdna Vavrnchuk
Bohdna Vavrnchuk and her friends take cover in a parking garage as sirens go off, warning them of a possible oncoming missile strike from Russian forces.

Instead, Vavrynchuk decided to stay. 

“The men, they are not allowed to leave the country. It’s only the women who can go and it just felt that I should stay here. It’s my home and I don’t want, I don’t want any bully to make me leave,” she said. 

In the simplest of terms, Vavrynchuk compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to a bully on the playground.

Only this so-called bully commands an entire army and has launched airstrikes on the playground, Ukraine, ratcheting up the tension Sunday, by putting his nuclear defenses on high alert. 

RELATED: Putin puts nuclear forces on high alert, escalating tensions with the West

Credit: AP
Ukrainian servicemen walk at fragments of a downed aircraft seen in in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, Feb. 25, 2022. It was unclear what aicraft crashed and what brought it down amid the Russian invasion in Ukraine Russia is pressing its invasion of Ukraine to the outskirts of the capital after unleashing airstrikes on cities and military bases and sending in troops and tanks from three sides. (AP Photo/Oleksandr Ratushniak)

Vavrynchuk never lived under a Soviet regime and has only ever known a free and independent Ukraine. 

“We’ve been very clear about our Ukrainian identity. In Russia, there is this image that we are all fascists here, but because, we understand and accept our identities and we do not, we have never said we are part of Russia, like culturally or mentally,” she explained. 

And no matter what happens in the coming days, no matter the missiles or the blood that’s shed, Vavrynchuk doesn’t see that changing for her generation. 

“Now it feels like this is our key battle and we need to be as strong and united as possible to win it, not only for Ukraine, but for Europe and the world too,” she said. 

Last week, Vavrynchuk was thinking about her next vacation and ordering makeup online. A week later, none of that matters as she helps her friends make Molotov cocktails to use against Russian forces if they get to Lviv.

“Now, I’m only worried about the life of my family, my friends and the people who are fighting and struggling,” she said. 

Credit: Bohdna Vavrnchuk
Bohdna Vavrnchuk and her friends prepare Molotov cocktails to use against Russian forces if they get to Lviv.

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