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San Diego woman makes emotional connection with family in Ukraine

A San Diego bakery owner whose family is still in Ukraine wants to bring them here, but as KPBS reporter Kitty Alvarado tells us, they still say they want to stay.

Oh My Cake bakery owner Daria Nadar worries about her family's safety — including her parents, sister, brother-in-law and nephew — in Ukraine.

She is using her business to raise funds for the relief efforts following Russia's invasion. So far, Nadar said she's raised more than $5,000 at her Hillcrest bakery.

On Thursday, Nadar learned her family is OK and has fled Kyiv to go to what they say is a somewhat-safer part of Ukraine.


RELATED: Hillcrest bakery helps Ukraine one treat at a time

“Bombing was near our house,” said Svitlana Tarnavska, Nadar’s mother, during a video chat on Thursday. It was a connection that means everything to them while they are a world away.

“I want to hug her!” Tarnavska exclaimed during the chat.

“Soon, soon, I hope soon,” Nadar said.

Tarnavska did not want to leave but said the bombing just got too close. She said they left for the sake of her 8-year-old grandson Andrew, who jumped at the chance to practice his English.


“I’m fine, good,” he said.

Tarnavska said the family had visas and could travel to the European Union or even U.S. But even though Nadar wants them here in the U.S., Tarnavska said they just want to go back.

“I’m worried about our country, our people,” she said.

Tarnavska said the war was not only physical but psychological, as well. Her own sister, who lives in Russia and has a daughter in Ukraine, refused to believe what's been happening in Ukraine. Russia's state media have been framing the war as a "special military operation" and downplayed what's been happening.

Tarnavska's sister didn't believe her or her own daughter when they told her what has been happening in places such as Mariupol, where civilians are being attacked and even a maternity hospital was hit.

“My dear sister, we tell you truth,” Tarnavska said. “I don’t know how to make you believe me, believe your daughter.”

She also asked San Diegans and all Americans to hear her pleas for help before it was too late.

“Dear American people, dear San Diego people, we appreciate your support for Ukraine. War is here and the nuclear disaster may be much bigger than Chernobyl," Tarnavska said. "Help close the sky of Ukraine before the world gets another catastrophe and millions of people die.”

She said now all they could do was pray.

“I pray that war stops and soon, soon stops,” Tarnavska said.

And say “Glory to Ukraine,” in Ukrainian. “Slava Ukrainie!”