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Ukrainian Americans in Georgia watch invasion in horror

Published: Feb. 24, 2022 at 2:20 PM CST
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PEACHTREE CORNERS, Ga. (WGCL/CBS46) – Gwinnett County attorney Liliya Makhlaychuk-Sharma woke up Thursday morning horrified at what she was seeing on television – her home country of Ukraine being attacked by Russia.

“I was born in central Ukraine, born and raised,” said Makhlaychuk-Sharma. “I was devastated. I think all of us really hoped until the last minute that it’s not going to happen, that the voice of reason will prevail, and unfortunately, it didn’t.”

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She spent most of the morning talking on the phone with family and friends in Ukraine.

“It’s just heartbreaking because there is nowhere to go,” she said. “They attack from all sides of Ukraine.”

Some of Makhlaychuk-Sharma’s clients also are Ukrainian American. She had been in the process of trying to help some of them get their families here to the U.S.

“I’ve been receiving text and phone calls early this morning, ‘What can we do? What needs to be done?’ Unfortunately, I don’t have any answers as of right now,” she said.

She said she believes sanctions by the United States and other countries will do little to stop Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“At this point, I don’t think that Putin really cares about any sanctions. I mean, it’s been already proven. I think an aggressive military action should be in place,” she said. “What’s next after Ukraine? Poland, Europe? Who’s going to stop him if he decides to go further, which he most likely will?”

Makhlaychuk-Sharma said she’s planning to take part in a “Stand with Ukraine” event Saturday at noon near the CNN Center in downtown Atlanta. Organizers in cities across the world hope to pressure the international community to step in with force.

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