PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — There are now more than four million people who have left Ukraine, according to the United Nations. Among them is a pop star who is seeking refuge in the Philadelphia area.
Eyewitness News reporter talked exclusively to Anastasiya Petryk about the special way she is supporting her homeland.READ MORE: Enhanced Risk For Severe Weather Across Philadelphia Region Monday Afternoon
Petryk was a rising star. She won multiple international music competitions and appeared in Ukraine’s Got Talent. But her life, like that of so many others, was plunged into turmoil when Russia invaded.
Tears welled up in Petryk’s eyes as she recounted the harrowing moment she realized her country was under attack.
“I was sound asleep and the first explosion in the city happened. I knew since that moment at 5 o’clock in the morning, that’s the moment that’s going to stay with me forever,” she said. “And it’s just really hard for me.”
Seeking safety, she and her mother traveled 760 miles from Odesa, Ukraine, to Warsaw, Poland, then caught a plane to the United States. Her dad was already in Philadelphia months before the war trying to move his family here so they could have a better life.READ MORE: All Eyes On Pennsylvania Primary As Tuesday's Election Day Approaches
“Those days were the scariest in my life until they got here,” Igor Petryk said.
“Being here in Philadelphia makes things easy from the standpoint that my father is over here,” Anastasiya Petryk said.
Petryk arrived in Philly on March 14 and is still continuing to make music.
On Friday, she’s planning to release a video of herself singing the Ukrainian national anthem on social media to inspire others to be strong and to stand with Ukraine.
“Music is the only thing that can actually calm me down,’ Petryk said. “I’m worried sick for the rest of the family, for my loved ones who stayed behind in Odesa.”MORE NEWS: Police: 14-Year-Old Boy Shot In Leg In Philadelphia's Haddington Neighborhood
Petryk says she hopes one day it’s safe to return to Ukraine and reunite with her friends.