BOISE, Idaho — The war in Ukraine passed the 100-day mark last week, continuing to force Ukrainian families to flee, some landing here in the Gem State — including the Prudnikov family.
“The missiles started flying, the shelling started flying into our neighbor's house, breaking through windows. The electricity was shut down and this was all on the first day of the war,” refugee Vitaliy Prudnikov said.
A majority of the Prudnikov family already lived in Boise after leaving Ukraine years ago but Vitaliy, his wife, and their kids stayed in Mariupol.
“In '88 when my father passed away, I was chosen to continue the service as the pastor of the church,” Prudnikov said.
With all his siblings in the states, his mom asked him to come with them, but he couldn’t.
“She received a revelation from the Lord, that this son will close your eyes on your death bed. I knew that somehow I would see her as she passed away,” he said.
A few days after Vitaliy and his family arrived in Idaho this year and he was able to see her, his mother died.
The family started their official journey to America in February, fleeing Ukraine and passing through Russian posts on the way.
“It wasn’t easy when you’re driving and there's an automatic rifle pointed at you as you are being questioned,” he said.
When asked if they would want to go back to Mariupol, he said it's difficult because it's not the same city it once was.
“It's basically turned into a city that a morgue. It is a city that is just a complete cemetery and everything that is left there is just a small population of civilians maybe either they couldn’t leave or they didn’t want to and they wanted to support those that are remaining,” he said.
“We thought the war would be one, two, three days and then it would stop just like it had in the past.”
The sound of war is not unfamiliar to the Prudnikov family. In 2015, they witnessed similar warfare right outside their home.
Hear their full story here: