ARVADA, Colorado (CBS4) – Members of the Ukrainian community in Colorado are praying for peace as fears grow that Russia could invade Ukraine within days.
The concerns come as a growing number of Russians forces now encircle Ukraine’s borders. U.S. officials fear Russia could orchestrate a reason to move to Ukraine any day now. Sources tell CBS News that the United States is preparing to withdraw all personnel from the Ukrainian capital by the middle of the week.
“I hope the United States will show their power,” said Lileya Sobechko of Arvada.
Sobechko and her husband Mykhalo Palissa left Lviv, Ukraine in 2002 hoping to find stability and “pursue the American dream.”
The couple eventually chose Arvada as their place of residence and founding a family.
“We love the United States and we love Colorado,” Sobchechko said. “We are American citizens and this is our home.”
These days, the stability Sobechko cherishes doesn’t extend to his family back in Ukraine. Every day she checks in with them, worried about the growing threat of an invasion by Russian forces.
She remembers having tears in her eyes during a recent conversation with her 78-year-old mother about what to put in a backpack in case she needed to leave town.
“I don’t want Ukraine to become like Syria,” she said. “We are watching these bombings there. We look at these poor people, these children killed in the streets by the bombardments. We don’t want that to happen to Ukraine.
Many members of Sobechko’s longtime church congregation, the Transfiguration of Our Lord Ukrainian Catholic Church, share the same concerns, she said. Over the phone, the church pastor said he shared a prayer of peace every day.
“It’s very difficult and I think what helps us the most is the prayers,” Sobechko said. “We pray every day for peace.”
In 2014, Sobechko was among several dozen Ukrainians in Colorado who rallied at the Colorado State Capitol to protest Russia’s invasion of Crimea. Now the danger is much closer to home and the group is planning another protest.
“It’s a real threat,” she said.
Sobechko said she hopes the United States and other countries intervene before it’s too late.
“It’s a global issue now and I want Americans to understand that,” she said. “It’s not just a Ukrainian problem.”