SOUTHINGTON, Conn. (WTNH) — A Southington man who headed to Ukraine on what he hoped would be a romantic trip ended up scrambling for his life.
Brian Rasor planned the trip to see his Ukrainian girlfriend, Julia. His ticket was booked for Feb. 11, four days after President Biden told Americans to leave that country with Russian troops at the border.
He went anyway.
“I really wanted to see her,” Rasor said. “I wasn’t too nervous because I figured that something could happen or something couldn’t. I took the chance.”
The first week went great, with a romantic Valentine’s dinner and sightseeing. Then early in the morning on Feb. 23, things took a turn.
“I was getting texts and calls and so was she and we woke up and that’s where I called my dad back and he’s like ‘did you see what happened?’ You know, I didn’t know and that’s when Russia invaded Ukraine,” Rasor said. “It was just, what do we do?”
They got into a bomb shelter underneath Julia’s apartment in Kyiv.
“They were so loud that you could feel them in your chest, in the ground, and you could hear gunshots and rifles.”
That is when they decided it was time to go. They took two packed trains, standing for nine-hour long stretches with little food and water.
After three full days of grueling travel, they finally got to the Slovakia border.
“It was such a relief because we didn’t hear… there wasn’t any explosions or gunfire,” Rasor said.
His girlfriend is now safe in Portugal. He is hoping by telling his story, it will show the severity of the war and inspire others to help refugees.