HALLANDALE BEACH (CBS Miami)
President Joe Biden delivered a surprise visit to Ukraine that moved some in South Florida to tears.
“We’re very grateful for American support, and we’re grateful for other countries’ support, and hopefully with that Ukraine will win,” Mariia Bohdanova said through a translator from her family’s home in Hallandale Beach.
One year ago, Bohdanova sat terrified inside her home in Ukraine watching balconies hit by Russian bombs crash to the ground. Her family in the Miami area wondered how, when or if they’d meet again.
“(This) is genuinely an amazing moment that we did not expect but we got to experience,” Diana Khruslova, Bohdanova’s granddaughter said.
The family saw things turn last summer. A United States-sponsored program offered an escape. Khruslova’s parents applied and earned passage for both of Diana’s grandmothers.
Then, Bohdanova and Tamara Kravchenko, 86, spent three harrowing days between trains and buses trusting strangers with their lives in order to cross into Poland. From there, the two women caught a flight to Miami.
“We were not able to sleep; no one in my family,” Khruslova said.
Both safely landed in Miami last August. Months later, their eyes stare at television screens as they watch the news from their homeland.
They saw U.S. President Joe Biden make an unannounced visit to Kyiv for the first time since the war began. Biden met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, honored fallen soldiers and pledged $500 million worth of military equipment to help Ukraine.
“Putin’s war of conquest is failing,” Biden said. “Russia’s military has lost half its territory it once occupied.”
Seeing those images gave Khruslova’s family hope.
“(It’s) one thing to see him helping us (it’s) another thing to see him coming to us and you know showing us that people can stay in Ukraine,” she said.