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‘Ready to die for our land’: Louisville grad student from Ukraine says his dad joined civilian patrol in Kyiv

Despite a quiet night in the city, Arty Pavlov said his parents went to a bomb shelter as a precaution.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A University of Louisville grad student from Ukraine said his parents, who are stuck in Kyiv, spent the night in a bomb shelter after there were reports Russian troops could move in on the capital city.

“They are safe,” Arty Pavlov said. “They went to bomb shelter last night just in case, but apparently it was a fairly quiet night inside the city.”

Pavlov, who moved to the United States when he was 19 to attend college, said his parents spent about nine hours in the shelter.

They went around midnight and left after sunrise to go home.

Pavlov said his dad and some neighbors joined an area patrol made up of civilians to help fight, if the Russians do invade the urban area of the city.

“They made partial barricades where their street starts,” Pavlov said. “They did make some Molotov’s.”

Pavlov said his parents and their neighbors have made about 20 Molotov cocktails.

They got instructions on how to make them off of circulating social media posts. A Ukrainian TV channel also broadcasted instructions on how to make them after the country’s Defense Ministry tweeted that citizens should “make Molotov cocktails and take down the occupier” Friday.

“The morale is over the top right now,” Pavlov said. “We started getting military support from other countries, so as long as people have ammo, everyone will keep fighting.”

Pavlov said his friends are posting videos on social media where you can hear explosions, but at this time he hasn’t heard of anyone he knows that has been injured.

“Everyone is ready,” Pavlov said. “Every person in Kiev and Ukraine is ready to die for our land and freedom. Government said that if Russians threaten us with nuclear weapons to force us to surrender during the negotiations tomorrow then so be it. People will keep fighting even if government says we surrender.”

Pavlov said he’s trying to raise money to get his parents out of Ukraine.

Two days before the Russians invaded his home country, his parents’ car broke down.

“Their car is still parked at Ford service dealership since it died in the middle of the street,” Pavlov said. “It got delivered there this past Tuesday.”

Pavlov sent his parents his most recent paycheck, but it would only cover a quarter of the cost needed to repair the vehicle.

For information on how to help Pavlov’s family, click here.

Original story

A University of Louisville grad student from Ukraine said he’s extremely concerned about his family, who are stuck in Kyiv unable to get out of the country.

Arty Pavlov, who moved to the United States when he was 19 to attend college, said he’s been in frequent contact with his parents ever since Russia began its invasion into Ukraine. 

“Their car broke down and money-wise – they’re just going to stay there,” Pavlov said.

Pavlov came to the United States in 2013 after being offered a full-ride scholarship to play basketball at John Brown University, a private college in Arkansas. He’s now attending UofL, working toward his second master’s degree.

Pavlov said his parents, grandparents, extended family and many friends are stuck in Ukraine as Russian troops move into the capital city of Kyiv. His parents said they are safe right now, despite hearing a large explosion accompanied by a large fireball that lit up Friday's early morning sky. 

RELATED: Ukraine's capital under threat as Russia presses invasion

As Russian forces move closer to a ground invasion of Kyiv, Pavlov said his family and friends tell him they're ready to fight.

"People are ready," Pavlov said. "People are prepared. Tonight may be a rough one because it is expected that the city may be bombed again."

Pavlov sent money to his parents when the invasion initially began to help them get out of the country, but unfortunately, they couldn’t access it.

“Since early morning there were hundreds of people in line for each ATM, each bank, each grocery store,” Pavlov said. “Some of my friends tried to escape, but there were huge lines all the way towards the west.”

Ukrainians are ready to fight

Pavlov said he hasn't heard of any of his friends being hurt so far in the conflict, but said they are ready to defend their country. 

"My friends, I think are most safe as far as I know," Pavlov said. "I didn't hear anyone was injured, but they're ready to fight. Who knows how tonight is going to be, how the rest of the weekend is going to be."

Pavlov said without direct military support from other countries, it's up to the people of Ukraine to protect their land. 

"It's our freedom," Pavlov said. "If we don't defend ourselves, no one will. If you don't, there may be no Ukraine in a few days."

RELATED: Why is Russia invading Ukraine?

Credit: AP
People board a Kyiv bound train on a platform in Kramatorsk, the Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. Russia launched a wide-ranging attack on Ukraine on Thursday, hitting cities and bases with airstrikes or shelling, as civilians piled into trains and cars to flee. Ukraine's government said Russian tanks and troops rolled across the border in a “full-scale war” that could rewrite the geopolitical order and whose fallout already reverberated around the world. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

Pavlov hopes other countries will step in to help Ukraine. Otherwise, he said he fears the worst.

"We can fight them back on the ground, we just don't have enough for the airstrikes," Pavlov said.

Why Ukraine needs help

Early into the invasion, the Russian military announced it knocked out Ukraine's air defense assets and airbases, so Pavlov said Ukraine can't defend itself from Russian airstrikes. 

“If we don't get any air support from other countries, I don't think [Ukraine can drive Russia out],” Pavlov said. “If we don't have anything anti-aircraft – I mean, yes, we're going to prolong it. We are going to fight until we can’t, but it's only a matter of time.”

In 1994, Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons when it signed the Budapest Memorandum with the United States, Britain and Russia at the end of the Cold War.

RELATED: Understanding the Russia-Ukraine crisis: History of eastern Europe's two largest countries

At that time, Ukraine had the third-largest nuclear arsenal in the world, with an estimated 1,900 warheads. Under the agreement, Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons stockpile in exchange for security assurances from the West and Russia.

“We just hope that other countries are going to do more," Pavlov said. "It's hard to look back in history and know we gave up nuclear weapons –  the second biggest nuclear weapon arsenal we had at that time – for a piece of paper that says other countries [are] going to protect us in case of any emergency happens.”

Pavlov said he feels other countries are helping Ukraine through sanctions and providing weapons but doesn’t think sanctions will help against a country like Russia.

RELATED: Ukrainian woman living in Louisville leading relief team in Ukraine

Thursday, Biden announced harsh sanctions against Russia. The United States and its allies will block assets of four large Russian banks, impose export controls and sanction oligarchs.

Pavlov said he isn't sure it's going to be enough.

“They have oil, they have resources, they have land, they have people,” Pavlov said. “Yes, maybe in a year it may cause something to their economy but in the short term I don't think it's going to affect any of them.”

Amidst the chaos, Pavlov said he's trying to stay positive. He said he intends to see his country prevail in the end.

"Together, we're strong," Pavlov said. "We'll fight back and make sure that the world supports us and they just see how democracy can prevail and a sort of aggression."

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Contact reporter Rachel Droze at rdroze@whas11.com. Follow her on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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