Local Exchange Student Fears for Family's Safety in Kiev

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- Alyona Gladyshko is studying at Rockford University but is finding herself distracted with what's going on more than five thousand miles away. That's because she's an exchange student from Kiev, the stage of bloody and deadly anti-government protest just miles away from her family's home.

"I don't recognize my city. It just transformed and is just in flames," said Gladyshko.

Alyona's family lives fifteen minutes from the epicenter of violence in the eastern European city. That fact that worries her as all she can do is watch her home-town burn into the night from her TV screen.

"I was there less than a year ago and it was a beautiful magnificent European city and now it's just ruined," said the 21 year old, "...completely demolished."

Alyona says she's been in contact with her family and they are safe.

"Everyone will say that it's terrifying... it's dreadful," said Gladyshko, "but it's so much different when you know that your family is there."

Alyona's parents are supposed to be making a trip to the US in the coming weeks to visit her here in Rockford but if the situation in Kiev worsens and a state of emergency is declared, it's likely they won't be allowed to leave the country.

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