International students in Magnolia State in disbelief at what’s happening in Ukraine

Published: Feb. 25, 2022 at 10:30 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) -In the Magnolia State, many college students from Ukraine are devastated as they watch and read what’s happening in their homeland.

“I was very surprised,” said Maksym Konovalov,” Mississippi College graduate student who’s from Kyiv, Ukraine. “I didn’t believe there could be an actual war in 2022. We knew that the Russian aggression has been going on since 2014, but no one expected it to be this bad.”

Konovalov said he only got one hour of sleep after hearing about the invasion. He said all of his family members are still in Ukraine and are safe.

The grad student said he’s constantly calling and reaching out to them to make sure they’re ok and to get updates on what’s happening.

“Everyone is told not to panic, everybody is staying calm, following the instructions of our government, so everyone is doing ok,” said Konovalov.

While Konovalov is happy his family is ok, he said what’s not ok is the violence and killings happening to innocent people.

“It’s terrifying to me how Russia is shooting at civilians which was supposed to be, from their words, just a “peacekeeping mission,” for no reason, when nobody asked for it. But they ended up shooting at our civilians and killing innocent people, that’s very terrifying to see,” said Konovalov.

During this trying time, the Mississippi College student said he’s receiving a great deal of support from university leaders and fellow students.

He said that support system has helped him stay strong.

“I’ve had a lot of students from MC, (Mississippi College) International students and American students, asking me how’s everything going,” he said. “Everybody has been sending prayers. I’m happy that I’m here. Everybody is being very friendly.”

Although things aren’t looking good in his homeland right now, Konovalov said he has faith the tough times won’t last.

“I believe in that,” Konovalov expressed. “I think that our nation, we went through a lot throughout history, and that’s not going to be the first time we’re fighting for our freedom. We’re on our land, so I think we’re on the right side of this, and God is with us, and everything is going to be ok. I believe in it.”

Konovalov also coaches tennis at Mississippi College.

He graduates in May and had plans to go back home afterward to celebrate with his parents in Ukraine.

However, those plans are now in limbo due to the invasion and the airlines being closed.

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