'I'm still alive' Houstonian describes heartbreaking conversation with disabled sister in Ukraine

Steve Campion Image
BySteve Campion KTRK logo
Friday, March 25, 2022
Native Ukraine woman communicates with disabled sister in Kyiv
Nataliya Pashchenko communicates with her disabled sister via text message who still lives in war-torn Kyiv

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine continues to inflict horror in the country and spread anguish far from Eastern Europe.

Nataliya Pashchenko, a Ukraine native who resides in Houston, told ABC13 she wakes up every morning and hopes to see a text from her disabled sister who lives Kyiv, the city currently under attack.

"I have a sister in Kyiv. We developed a line of communication because of the seven-hour time difference. When she wakes up, she sends me a text message saying, 'I'm still alive.' When I wake up, I send her a text message, 'How are you doing? I am up,'" said Pashchenko.

Pashchenko spoke with her cousin Max Bogadysta via audio on Facebook messenger with ABC13.

In Russian, Bogadysta said he's lost contact with his parents in the hard-hit area of Mariupol. He's an electrical engineer by training.

The war forced him to flee the area and lose his job. The future for his family and their two children remains uncertain. He's Ukrainian and cannot comprehend why his homeland is under attack.

"He's saying, 'I love my country. I love my job. I have two children,'" said Pashchenko helping to translate the conversation. "'I don't know what's going to happen to me.'"

Pashchenko said she left Ukraine in 1994. Most of her relatives are older, and she fears she'll never see them again in person.

Follow Steve Campion on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.