BAY VILLAGE, Ohio — Maryana Korchynska has owned an alteration boutique in Bay Village for years, and while it's been business as usual at the shop, she feels a piece of her heart is missing.
"I have a lot of customers here through the years that text me, saying 'Bay Village is praying for you,'" she said, "and I tell everybody there and soldiers tell us that they feel those prayers."
Everything Korchynska knows and loves is in danger thousands of miles away in her native land of Ukraine.
"Half of my family is safe here, and half of my family is not safe there," she told 3News. "It's in a war zone, so it's pretty scary."
Many of her loved ones live in Kyiv, Ukraine's capital. When she's not watching parts of her country crumble on news outlets and social media, she's on the phone checking in with family.
"They have to go down in the basement, hide," she said. "They can take water and some supplies, and [my sister-in-law] said, 'You can't even believe how scared I was,' and I said, 'No. I can't.' ... My brother's town is hosting now 15 or 16,000 people in schools or hotels and provid[ing] food."
While some relatives have managed to escape and flee to other towns, others like seamstress Mariya Pototsk have many men in their families who have been left with no choice but to fight for their country.
"They have to protect their family," Pototsk said.
Mariya is devasted at Ukrainian civilians as young as 16 and as old as 60 having to fight in a war they did not ask for.
"They don't have a choice now that we came to a war," she lamented. "The war came to our house.
"It's scary because everybody has kids — especially a mom, they feel that — because it doesn't matter how old your son or daughter is. You'll always be protective of them, no matter what."
A week into battle, the days without knowing their families will be safe grow longer and more restless
"They could not get supplies like food and medications because they're surrounded by Russians," Korchynska said.
"I was crying and praying all day and couldn't stop it," Pototsk added. "My youngest one came to me and said, 'Mama, everything will be fine. I'm not dying."
They say hope is the only thing keeping them strong.
"Ukrainia didn't start this war, but we will stop it," Pototsk declared. "God's with us."