Pleasantville business owner tries to help family get to US after escaping Ukraine for Poland

A Pleasantville business owner is trying to help her family get to the United States after escaping war-torn Ukraine for Poland late last week.
"A Seafood Market Grill" owner Yuliia Aquije said her mother and grandmother are among the nearly 1 million Ukrainians who have fled their country and entered neighboring Poland since Russia invaded on Feb. 24.
"They closed the embassies, they closed the airports, everything got delayed, and then the war started. The shelling. The bombs. And she got stuck over there," said Aquije.
Around 1.5 million Ukrainians have fled the country in total, according to the United Nations, making it the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.
Aquije's mother and grandmother attempted to flee to Poland on Feb. 25 after Russia began intense bombing in their neighborhood but were unable to get onto a bus.
"A lot of people died and that was the day for her, like 'I cannot be here anymore. I have to get out. I don't know how. I don't care how. I have to leave,'" said Aquije.
They were able to leave Kharkiv on March 2 and arrived in Poland the next day. Aquije's mom described escaping Ukraine as "chaotic and terrifying" with confusing checkpoints and delays.
"I just wanted to be moral support for her, emotional support for her, and help her with whatever I can for her to get to Poland safely," said Aquije.
Aquije is no stranger to Russian aggression. She grew up in a city called Brianka which is in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine – a part of the country Russia attacked beginning in 2014. She moved to Kharkiv that year before coming to the United States with her husband in 2015.
Her father got his visa approved and joined Aquije in the United States last October just months before the war started. But the pandemic and escalating tensions leading up to Russia's invasion delayed her mother's paperwork.
Aquije says the Polish people at the border have been the bright spot in an otherwise devastating international crisis.
Volunteers have been working tirelessly to get Ukrainian refugees free food, water, and accommodations as soon as they cross the border.
"My mom said, 'I just started crying now because one lady came up to me and said don't worry whatever you need here, we're going to give it to you," said Aquije.
Aquije says she's working to get her mom an interview with the U.S. Embassy in Poland and hopes she'll get the paperwork she needs to fly to the United States within the next few months.
Her grandmother plans to return to her home in Ukraine once it's safe to do so.