Ukrainian basketball players are watching closely at home

Dima Zdor, Grand Canyon junior center, has attempted to keep a consistent routine. This includes schoolwork, practice, and games. 

Ukrainian basketball players are watching closely at home

He is half-way across the globe, so his attention span extends to all hours of the day.

Zdor is one of few Ukrainians who plays college basketball in the United States. He can only see from afar as Russian troops pass through his country, and hopes his family and friends are safe.

He said, "I watch a lot on the news back home and it's just disturbing how little villages and towns get destroyed and overtaken just for politics." "It's sad. It's scary. It is uncomfortable to check Twitter and watch the news every single day, knowing that there could be a negative impact on my family, friends, or team back home.

As bombs fall on cities across Ukraine, Russia's invasion is causing a huge humanitarian crisis. As Russian forces advance on Ukraine, more than 1,000,000 people fled the country. Millions more remain trapped in the crossfire, with many hiding underground.

It is difficult to watch it unfold from far away. A sense of helplessness overwhelms the players in Ukraine as they follow social media and try to communicate with their family and friends back home.

Denys Bobchuk a sophomore at Spring Hill College, Mobile, Alabama, said that it is mentally difficult. "Personallly, I feel guilty because my people are going though some tough times right now. "I'm here, I feel safe, and there's nothing I can do to help."

Tensions began when Russia appeared to be planning an invasion of Ukraine. Tenfold, the tension grew when the bombs started to fall and troops crossed the border.

Sometimes communication with Ukraine has been sporadic. It is difficult to communicate with loved ones for hours, and days.

Anxiety and confusion can also be caused by the inability to understand why their country is being invaded.

It's not OK. In this age of science and medicine, we still have war," San Francisco center Volodymyr markovetskyy stated. "Why is this happening?" "I don't get it, my family doesn’t understand, and nobody else does."

Markovetskyy was able to flee to Lithuania with his mother and sister, but his father, who is a policeman, had to remain in Ukraine.

Zdor's sister, parents and siblings are currently in Ukraine and Crimea. Crimea was occupied in 2014 by Russia.

George Maslennikov is a senior forward at Canisius. He is originally from Odessa. His father is in Spain and he had some nervous moments while he was unable to reach Tetyanna, his mother, during the siege of Odessa.

He said, "I try to keep my mind positive as much as possible, even though it's hard even without things such as that going on back home because I only see my family once per year."

These players from Ukraine still do their best to raise awareness via social media and help raise funds for the military effort.

Bobchuk has reached out to American manufacturers to request bulletproof vests for military friends back in the USA.

Maslennikov donated via a bank app in order to send money to the Ukrainian army. He also encouraged others to do so through social media.

He said, "It just takes courage to do such things and have this country as small to fight against Russians." It's not easy as people thought. I am trying to support it as best I can, even though I live so far away from home and I worry about them. But I am doing what I can.

However, there is only so much that the Ukrainian players can accomplish from far away. They spend a lot of time watching, waiting, and keeping an eye on everyone back home.

A routine is key to keeping your mind focused and able to distract from the current events.

Bobchuk stated that while it doesn't feel right, at the end of a day, it is important to remember that I am here and that the only thing I can control is my job. He said, "It just feels wrong to me. But at the end, I think I understand that I'm there and the only thing we can do is do our job, which is playing basketball right at the highest level right now." "And that's exactly what I'm trying right now. Just trying to concentrate on something I'm involved with and have my daily routine following it.