Valentina is safe! Mother of Chesterfield woman escapes Ukraine, now in Serbia

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Bill Motchan, Special For The Jewish Light

Last week, the Jewish Light described the plight of Valentina Timoshina, an Israeli Ukrainian hiding in a makeshift bomb shelter in Kharkiv to survive the Russian attack. Timoshina’s daughter Olga Gorodetsky, who lives in Chesterfield, reports that her mother has evacuated from Ukraine with three of her friends and is safe.

The harrowing journey took nearly 48 hours as Timoshina and her friends traveled through bomb-ravaged sections of eastern Ukraine.

“She called and said, ‘Olga'”

“Last Wednesday she called me and said ‘Olga, the connection goes in and out so I may not be able to talk to you. Just keep calm and keep in touch as much as we can.’ My heart was breaking because I didn’t know when I would be able to talk to her, so I went to sleep praying,” Gorodetsky said.

“I woke up on Thursday to a message that she was able to get on an evacuation train from Kharkiv to Lviv in western Ukraine,” Gorodetsky said. “She got on the last cabin. It was a miracle that she got to the train station because the city was heavily bombed. She left the car and got on the train that only takes the elderly and children. They got to Lviv and went to the Hungarian border because the Polish border had longer lines. They had luck all the way, from getting the last cabin on the train to getting to the Hungarian border fast, then going to Serbia because they had somewhere to stay.”

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Timoshina is now staying with friends, taking some time to decompress from the horror of watching Kharkiv reduced to rubble. The rail journey from Kharkiv to Lviv—nearly 1,000 miles—was not without drama. The train ran at top speed through the darkness and made no stops. Ukrainian authorities and volunteers helped arrange the transport.

True Heroes

“Ukrainian military, evacuation train operators, Chabad and volunteers on the ground are true heroes,” Gorodetsky said. “I talked to my mom for an hour on Saturday and she described the experience. She said it was surreal because she left this horrible scene in Kharkiv where everything was burning and there were Russians military vehicles and bombs falling and she got to Serbia where it’s spring and there are flowers and birds chirping.”

Gorodetsky is continuing her effort in advocating for Ukraine, raising money and supporting her extended family and friends that are still there.

“We can’t stop now,” she said. “Coming together against the evil will help us to end this war.”