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Jacksonville woman's family and friends are taking shelter in Ukraine while invasion is underway

She received texts from her family saying they woke up to the sound of explosions.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Russian invasion to Ukraine weighs heavy on a lot of people in the US, including a UNF student in Jacksonville. While living in the US her parents own a Euro Deli-Bakery. 

The First Coast has been home to Vitalina Burdeina for the past five years. Back home, her family and friends in Ukraine are trying to survive. Seeing what is happening to her mother is terrifying to her.  

"Your friend's texting you in the morning because they woke up to the sound of explosions," Burdeina said. 

For now, the only thing the 21-year-old can do is watch how it all unfolds. That's hard for Burdeina. During the invasion: Ukrainian cities were targeted, homes destroyed and dozens of soldiers and civilians were killed. She said it is hard to imagine what her people in her native country are going through. 

"They can't escape," Burdeina added. "They just have to sit there and wait." 

To the Ukrainian native, what is happening back home is a nightmare. Hearts weigh heavy as she observes her country in chaos, but the love for Ukraine keeps her head up. Burdeina said she's proud of her country, with hopes that she will return one day. 

"Be strong," she said to offer encouragement. "[Ukraine] It's the strongest country ever. I love it." 

Just hours after Russian troops launched an attack, President Joe Biden announced another round of sanctions against the invading country. Biden said the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, is the aggressor who "chose this war." 

"And now his country will bear the consequences," Biden said at a press conference. 

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