Minnesota woman concerned for mother stranded in Ukraine

The Ham Lake resident has not been able to get in contact with her mom since Sunday night.

Sciorrotta's mother, Zhanna, pictured third from the left, with family and friends. (Photo provided to Alpha News)

As the Russian invasion continues to intensify in Ukraine since it began Feb. 24, Ham Lake resident Alina Sciorrotta is overwhelmed with feelings of anxiety and helplessness.

Sciorrotta immigrated from Ukraine to the U.S. 10 years ago. Last month, Sciorrotta’s mom Zhanna made a trip to Kharkiv, Ukraine to take care of her elderly grandparents. Kharkiv is about an hour away from the Russian border.

“After multiple text messages from friends and family saying that the city was under attack along with other cities, that made me more concerned and worried for my mom. I contacted her right away and she confirmed the sounds of bombing, the explosions, the smoke in the air,” Sciorrotta told Alpha News.

Sciorrotta’s mom along with other residents are currently hiding in the basement of their apartment complex. Zhanna told Sciorrotta the residents are strategically planning their next move and how to distribute food amongst each other.

Sciorrotta with her husband, a former U.S. Marine and current Minneapolis police officer, after she became a U.S. citizen.

Sciorrotta said she contacted the U.S. embassy in Poland for help. Officials instructed Sciorrotta that her mom needed to get to the Poland border for safety.

“That’s the most challenging thing is to get to the border because they’re being actively bombed. So it is a risk to take yourself to the border and she’s 15 driving hours away from the border and she doesn’t have a car,” Sciorrotta explained.

The Ham Lake resident has not been able to get in contact with her mom since Sunday night. Sciorrotta told Alpha News the majority of the buildings where her mom lived lost power.

According to the U.N. human rights chief, since Russia’s invasion five days ago, at least 100 civilians have died so far in Ukraine. While lives are being threatened by Russian forces every day, Sciorrotta wants to remind people that many Russian civilians do not agree with war.

“This wasn’t their choice and if it would be their choice there would be no war. Please keep them in prayers as well. Keep the bond between two nations together. Russians and Ukrainians have been bonded together for years and we do not want to break that bond,” she said.

Sciorrotta described the people of Ukraine as incredible, saying their spirit is bright. However, she wants to see more from the U.S. government.

“As a U.S. citizen, one thing that I would ask the U.S. government is to organize proper, secure transportation for U.S. citizens. Unfortunately, that’s not happening. I think I have a right to ask this as a U.S. citizen, to bring our U.S. citizens home,” Sciorrotta said.

Pafoua Yang

Pafoua Yang is a reporter for Alpha News. She has worked as an on-air reporter for stations across the Twin Cities.