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South Florida Ukrainians praise President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's address to Congress

'He's the face of Ukrainian people,' Yulia Nesterenco says
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, March 16, 2022 address to U.S. Congress
Posted at 3:02 PM, Mar 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-16 18:15:42-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Ukrainians in South Florida intently watched President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's address to Congress on Wednesday morning.

The time difference has meant that many Ukrainians living here locally are not getting a lot of sleep since the European nation is six hours ahead of U.S. Eastern time.

During Zelensky's virtual address to U.S. lawmakers, he asked for more military help in fighting off the Russian invasion.

RELATED: Latest news on the Russia-Ukraine War

Yulia Nesterenco, a Palm Beach County resident, watched it all after she got up early to check in by phone with family members still in Ukraine.

Yulia Nesterenco, Ukrainian American living in South Florida
Yulia Nesterenco expresses her support for President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's amid the Russian invasion.

She said she is proud that Zelensky and agrees with his pleas for more help to turn back the Russians.

"Basically, he's the face of Ukrainian people. It's how we are, to fight even if he is in danger," Nesterenco said. "That's my home. That's my motherland. You cannot delete it. I love us, but I love Ukraine as well."

Nesterenco's mother is living with her in the U.S. They are both American citizens.

Her father, who is a college teacher, is still in Ukraine along with her grandfather and two cousins, one of which is a newborn.

She said her family there is spending nearly every day in a bomb shelter.

"They do have a bomb shelter, and my cousin, he's a doctor, and they have a newborn baby. She is three months old today," Nesterenco said.

Ukraine is getting support with military weapons from the U.S. and NATO to keep up the brave fight.

"The price is too high. Every single day there are people killed," Nesterenco said.

Zelenskyy has asked for a military no-fly zone over Ukraine and more military aid.

The White House is reluctant to enforce a no-fly zone at the risk of provoking Russia into escalating the war across Europe.

But Nesterenco said the situation in her home country is dangerous and urgent and grows more worrisome every day.

"Everyone is afraid, but I have a feeling World War III started already," Nesterenco said.