Ukrainian church members in Riverhead hold prayer service as Russia invades their home country
The Ukrainian flag is hanging outside a Riverhead church as members of the congregation are praying for their loved ones in the country being invaded by Russia.
Father Bohdan Hedz is the pastor of Saint John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church in Riverhead.
His mother is in western Ukraine, and his wife's family is in the east, which is close to where the Russian forces are.
"They are almost in the center of all of it," Hedz says. "They hear the shelling; they hear the shooting. They are debating right now to evacuate, but they are afraid."
Hedz led a prayer service for the Ukrainian soldiers and civilians who have been killed so far during the invasion as millions are spending another evening in fear.
Natalka Michaliszyn, of North Bellmore, also has family and friends in Ukraine.
She has been receiving updates from her cousin using messaging apps and says she is thankful her loved ones are safe while still fearing the future.
"It's nerve wracking," Michaliszyn says. "It's just difficult to understand and how they are living. I'm nervous here and I'm a whole ocean away, so I can't imagine having to worry about the safety of my family, my children and having to seek shelter."
Several churches are sending supplies like over-the-counter medication, first aid equipment and warm clothing for the Ukrainian soldiers.
Other prayer services for Ukraine were also held Thursday evening.