Sarasota woman and team witness airstrike in Ukraine
(SARASOTA COUNTY) - (WSNN) - A normal day turned into a nightmare in Vinnytsia, a city in Western Ukraine, when on July 14th, a missile struck a shopping center. A Sarasota woman and her team explain the details of the blast.
"It was pure chaos," Alex21 for Ukraine Founder Liz Olegov said. "We’ve been close before, but we’ve never been 200 meters away from a missile landing."
Olegov is the founder of Alex 21 for Ukraine, an organization providing medical supplies, safety gear, and food for healthcare workers on the frontlines. On this day, Sarasota resident, Adelia Moyano was supposed to meet up with Olegov in Lviv to get night vision goggles. Just a few days prior, Moyano was passing through this city.
"The fact that they hit that place was outraging," Moyano said.
Olegov says the missile came very unexpected.
"Although we are in a war zone, West Ukraine is considered quite safe," Olegov said. "You don’t go outside in a bulletproof and a helmet carrying your medical kit with you, because there is just no need. There are air defense systems and there are not many military targets."
The Eastern part of Ukraine is closer to war. So when Olegov heard the air sirens in Vinnytsia, she didn’t think anything of it.
"We did what we usually do in West Ukraine when an air siren goes off, you ignore it," Olegov said.
It was an ordinary day for everyone there, families shopping with their kids, people grabbing some coffee.
"It’s just completely normal, and it’s packed too," Olegov said. "It was like 10:45 am exactly when the missile hit. We were just having a casual meeting, and that’s what makes it so shocking."
"And the Police house is what got hit," Olegov adds.
Olegov’s team was not prepared to help civilians in this location, but they were in the right place at the right time.
"By pure coincidence, we had 10 medical kits in the car, which was incredibly lucky," Olegov said.
"It made a different in those first 10 minutes when there are no ambulances there yet, there are no medics there yet," Olegov said. "But it was complete chaos. There bleeding everywhere, so much blood everywhere. Glass shards everywhere, children screaming."
Everything happened very fast.
"I started recording pretty much the second I hit the ground and that video is one hour and 45 minutes long, which is wild to me because it literally felt like 10 minutes," Olegov said.
Reports say more than 20 people died including some children in this attack.
"Despite everything we saw, it’s the vision of that missile flying over our heads, that’s what stuck with us," Olegov said.
This week, Moyano is going to Eastern Ukraine to provide aid to the people in the warzone. If you want to help her mission, you can find the info to her GoFundMe page, here.