It’s been about a year since the Russia-Ukraine war began.
It was February 24th of last year that Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an invasion from the north, east and west.
The war has forced millions to leave their homes and reduced entire cities to rubble.
For months Russian troops stormed the land of Ukraine quickly reaching the outskirts of Kyiv, but their attempts to capture the capital and other cities in the northeast met stiff resistance.
It has almost been a year since Russia invaded Ukraine.
Despite the families being pushed from their crumbling homes in non-stop air raids, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy embodied the country’s spirit as Ukraine stood its ground.
Places all around the world showed love and support for Ukraine.
In Rome, the ancient Colosseum was blue and yellow. In London, Downing Street’s lights were in the Ukraine colors as a symbolic gesture of Great Britain’s support.
And in Southwest Florida, people came and protested the war with signs, flags and their voices to stand with Ukraine after the country’s invasion.
In Southwest Florida, many felt afraid for their families and their country’s future.
Not much has changed since the war began.
One pastor told WINK News he remains committed to welcoming refugees to his church and into his home.
What once was a two-car garage is now two bedrooms.
It symbolizes hope and a chance to start over for Pastor Viktor Antipov, of House of Mercy Church in North Port.
Pastor Viktor Antipov (CREDIT: WINK News)
“So I have usually in my home five people who leaves some of them like, few months now, some have just arrived,” Antipov said.
In the last year, Antipov has opened his church and his home to countless refugees from the war in Ukraine.
“We are waiting for a family with five children,” he said. “You can feel pain. When you start speak with people. It’s a hopelessness. They don’t know what the next step would be. And that’s, it doesn’t change.”
President Joe Biden met with Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Monday. He offered continued support from the United States and another shipment of critical equipment.
President Joe Biden and Ukraine leader Volodymyr Zelenskyy met on Monday.
“For him to come into Ukraine for that special day of sorrow of just for Ukraine, it’s, you can’t imagine even greater support,” Antipov said. “He did an amazing step and tell to the whole world we are here with you.”
Antipov was born and raised in Ukraine and his sister is still there with her husband, daughter and five grandkids.
“Her husband and she decided to serve in the church to feed people, most of elderly, they cannot move. They cannot go anywhere,” Antipov said.
Antipov calls his sister his hero.
With no end in sight, he prays for the family. He prays for the refugees he sees everyday and for Ukraine’s future.
“We believe that God, God will end this war,” he said.