NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States Oksana Markarova told reporters Ukrainian citizens are returning to the country to help combat the Russian invasion.
Markarova spoke from the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, D.C., Friday, where she fielded questions from the press and gave updates on her country’s defensive position against the ongoing advances of Russian forces.
Markarova claimed that groups of Ukrainian citizens who initially fled to protect their families are heeding the government’s call and are finding routes to return home.
“There are many Ukrainians who are actually coming back home now to fight for their country,” Markarova told reporters. “And even though there are no flights, they are all flying to the closest European places, and there is no problem with crossing the border.
RUSSIA INVADED UKRAINE: LIVE UPDATES
“So we have, we know, many Ukrainians who, as we speak, (are) flying back home and will be in Ukraine by through checkpoints on the western border and on people who are taking the kids out,” Markarova added. “And we are very grateful to the neighboring countries for the help that they provide these people while they temporarily leave the country.”
Markarova’s claim is backed by numerous reports of Ukrainian veterans, expats and displaced citizens seeking re-entry into the country despite the violent conflict.
“Now, it’s understood that if it’s old people or women or small kids, you know, we value every life of Ukrainians, and we would like to protect every life of Ukrainians. So we are making everything possible,” Markarova said.
“Plus, the cabinet of ministers of Ukraine today had a special meeting and they actually, you know, made it easier to deal with quite a number of procedures and processes that are required to get the humanitarian assistance into the country so that we can be more effective in supplying our people.”
Markarova stressed that Ukrainians living in the U.S. should contact their embassy or consulate.
“I would like to ask all Ukrainian citizens here in the United States be in contact with the embassy, our consulate here in Washington, D.C., but also in Chicago, in San Francisco, in Houston and in New York. I work 24/7,” she said.
Terror and chaos have taken hold in Ukraine since the Russian invasion Thursday, leaving many scrambling for safety, residents told Fox News Digital.
“I’m shocked,” said Cherry Markovitch, who lives on a main street in Kyiv with her husband, Ariel Markovitch, and their three children. “Shocked would be an understatement. Traumatized is a better word.”
The couple has a 5-year-old, a 3-year-old and a 5-month-old.
Like many residents, she and her family slept in a parking garage under their building with their neighbors Thursday night as sirens wailed and bombs rained down. Many buildings do not have bomb shelters, driving citizens into underground parking garages and metro stations.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy remains in Kyiv in an undisclosed location after telling European leaders he is Russia’s No. 1 target.
In a video posted to Twitter, Zelenksyy, flanked by leaders and ministers in his government, said they were still in the nation’s capital and no one had fled. “We’re all here,” Zelenskyy said. “We are in Kyiv. We are defending Ukraine.”
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Protests in Russia continued during the second day of Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine, with prominent Russians joining in major cities across the country.
Russian authorities arrested over 1,700 people Thursday as citizens took to the streets of Moscow, St. Petersburg and other major cities to denounce the invasion of Ukraine and demand an end to hostilities, according to OVD Info, an independent organization monitoring political persecutions.
But if Putin’s plan was to end the protests and deter others, he has failed. Fresh protests started Friday with prominent Russians in the entertainment and business sectors joining at great personal and financial risk. Another 150 or so people were arrested Friday.
Even the daughter of oligarch and Chelsea F.C. owner Roman Abramovich has spoken out, posting on Instagram,
“The biggest and most successful lie of Kremlin’s propaganda is that most Russians stand with Putin,” she said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov’s daughter also posted “No to war” on Instagram.
Fox News’s Rebecca Rosenberg and Peter Aitken contributed to this report.