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Ukrainian doctor living in Kansas City fears she won't see friends and family again.

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Ukraine's president is calling on President Biden to close the skies over Ukraine, a move that some fear would signal an escalation by the U.S., triggering a world war.

In the U.S. only six months, Dr. Olga Tkachenko planned a return to Ukraine in June for her mother's birthday. Now all they have are phone calls and texts as her mother waits out the war in Poland.

Dr. Olga Tkachenko said she never expected the war between Russia and Ukraine to intensify. As Russia invaded the doctor watched the news regularly for updates which left her feeling anxious. Now, she tries to distract herself and reads the news rather than watching.

Family members and colleagues who remain in Ukraine keep Dr. Tkachenko apprised of what's happening. Teachers have fled and, according to Tkachenko, parents still in the country, like her aunt, are trying to keep children distracted and productive.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called on the U.S. and NATO to close the airways over his country, a move Dr. Tkachenko agrees with.

Ukrainian soldiers can defend the land, she said, "but you cannot know what you will get from the sky."

  • Dr. Olga Tkachenko, Ukrainian doctor

If you want to support efforts in Ukraine, here are some Kansas City ways to help.

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
As senior producer of Up To Date, I want our listeners to hear familiar and new voices that shine light on the issues and challenges facing the myriad communities KCUR serves, and to expose our audiences to the wonderful and the creative in the Kansas City area. Just as important to me is an obligation to mentor the next generation of producers to ensure that the important conversations continue. Reach me at alexanderdk@kcur.org.
Elizabeth Ruiz is a freelance producer for KCUR’s Up To Date. Contact her at elizabeth@kcur.org or on Twitter at @er_bentley_ruiz