ABC 10 News: Ukrainian in San Diego reflects on a year since Russian invasion

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — ABC 10News first introduced you to Iuliia Puchko-Wilson a year ago, back in February of 2022. At the time, Russia had begun its invasion, and Puchko-Wilson’s family was living in the city of Kharkiv.

She was on Facetime with her sister that night and could see and hear the explosions on the video call.

“It doesn’t feel like a year has passed. It feels as if it was yesterday,” Puchko-Wilson said. “I remember it in slow motion to be honest.”

A year later, her home country is still at war resisting Russian attempts to take over. Her family and friend, who temporarily fled for safety, are back in Kharkiv, refusing to leave and give in to Russian forces.

“It’s their way to resist and to show that it’s Ukrainian city, it’s going stay Ukrainian,” Puchko-Wilson said.

At home in San Diego, she’s built a community of support with new friends who gathered Friday at Balboa Park to celebrate Ukrainian resistance and honor the lives lost during the war so far.

The Ukrainian native says the year hasn’t been easy, remembering the fear and pain she felt for her loved ones, still raw a year later. However, she’s confident her pain won’t last forever and that Ukraine will one day be free.

She is so hopeful that the war will come to an end this year and that she’s planning a summer vacation to Ukraine.