St. Scholastica’s Danylo Sukhonos Describes Family Struggles in Ukraine

Sukhonos stays in contact with his family on a daily basis and wishes he could go back to his homecountry, even in the middle of a violent war.

DULUTH, Minn. – Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we’ve been able to hear how the conflict has impacted people right here in the Northland. That includes a St. Scholastica hockey player, whose family currently lives in one of the hardest hit cities in Ukraine.

CSS sophomore defenseman Danylo Sukhonos is from Kharkiv, Ukraine, the second largest city in the country which sits right on the border to Russia. And that’s what made it an easy target when the invasion began, leaving his family in danger on a daily basis.

“Right now, a five minute walk from them, the actual explosions are happening, fire, shootings. And they see firefighters and ambulance coming by their house or to their area maybe every ten, 12 minutes,” said Sukhonos.

His parents, grandparents and 15-year-old brother are currently staying in an apartment building in the middle of a residential area. The city has been taken over by the Russian army, forcing them to stay inside.

“The main thing that they’re just trying to do right now is to keep the atmosphere positive, staying strong, keeping each other safe and just be ready to do any kind of action if it’s needed for them,” Sukhonos said.

He stays in contact with his family on a daily basis and wishes he could go back to his homecountry, even in the middle of a violent war.

“They always say that ever since everything started that they are happy that at least I’m in the United States in a college. But I don’t feel happy at all because in such moments, you just want to be with you family,” said Sukhonos.

But what has helped him through this tough time is the overwhelming support he’s received from the Saints community.

“My head coach came to me the first morning when everything started and was asking me about my family and how’s everything going. We just had a playoff game on Saturday and everyone on the team put on their sticks tape of the colors of my country. The women’s soccer team put some creation that looks like the Ukrainian flag. My mom was just super happy. She starts laughing and she’s like ‘oh my god Danylo. thank you so much.’ Tell the people thank you a lot from me for doing all that,” Sukhonos said.

Sukhonos added that watching videos on social media gives him an added sense of pride seeing his people standing up to the Russian opposition.

“Ukraine and all the Ukrainian people are doing just an incredibly huge job of protecting themselves. These times, this war didn’t make anyone scared. It just made everyone be united,” said Sukhonos.

Even though he is far away from the conflict, Sukhonos is still feeling the impacts of the war. With the Ukranian banks all shutdown, he has been cutoff from receiving any funds from his parents. He does have a job at CSS, but friends tell us he could use some help. Sukhonos says that he will be saving that money to send back to his family in Ukraine as soon as the banks are open.

If you would like to help, you can search his name on the app “Zelle” and his email is danylosukhonos@gmail.com.

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