Maryland teacher works to help family that fled Ukraine

Mail and his family. (Courtesy GoFundMe)

A teacher in Maryland is working to help a family that had to flee its home in Ukraine.

“Your heart kind of breaks for them,” said John Broadwater, of Allegany County, Maryland.

Broadwater teaches English to students around the world through an online education platform called Outschool, and one of his students is a 5-year-old boy named Milan, who lived in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv until the Russian invasion began.

“They were woken up by the bombings and they had to pack up and leave right away,” Broadwater said. “They were in a survival mode.”

Broadwater said he has talked with the family frequently, including through a video call on Wednesday.

According to Broadwater, the family was able to make it to Romania and then Denmark. He launched a GoFundMe page to help with living expenses.

“This is one small way that I can personally help someone who I’ve taught online,” Broadwater said.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, sharply criticized Russia in a speech in front of the U.N. General Assembly, saying, “In one month, Russia caused the fastest-growing humanitarian catastrophe in the world.”

According to the U.N., about 10 million Ukrainians — a quarter of its population — have fled their homes and are now displaced in the country or among the 3.6 million refugees; 12 million need aid and 5.6 million children are unable to go to school.

The White House announced Thursday that Washington would increase its humanitarian assistance by welcoming 100,000 Ukrainian refugees and providing an additional $1 billion in food, medicine, water and other supplies.

The announcement came as President Joe Biden and world leaders gathered in Brussels for summits in response to the Russian invasion, seeking new ways to limit the economic and security fallout from the conflict.

Russian authorities maintain they did not start the war and have repeatedly and falsely decried reports of Russian military setbacks or civilian deaths in Ukraine as fake news. State media outlets and government officials insist Russian troops target only military facilities.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Nick Iannelli

Nick Iannelli can be heard covering developing and breaking news stories on WTOP.

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