KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — President Joe Biden says the world is witnessing the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

On Tuesday afternoon, Biden announced new economic sanctions on Russia.

Lana Prudyvus

The situation strikes a personal chord for one woman with East Tennessee ties. Lana Prudyvus lived in East Tennessee for several years when she got her undergraduate and master’s degrees at Lincoln Memorial University.

She was born in Ukraine, and that is where all of her immediate family members still are. They live in the city Lviv, which is in the western part of the country, close to the Polish border.

Prudyvus said circumstances are “getting worse and worse by the hour.”

“There’s just no telling what is going to happen,” Prudyvus said. “I think they’re still hoping that it’s not going to reach us because there’s a pretty big distance. Ukraine is a pretty big country and it’s a pretty big distance between the eastern part where all the attacks are going on and us.”

Still, it doesn’t mean her family hasn’t seen looming signs of war, even her 15-year-old sister.

“They’re giving them pamphlets of what to do if your school is getting attacked,” Prudyvus said. “And this is just insane. This is the twenty-first century we’re talking about.”

It is a stressful and scary situation for her.

“I’m just straight-up just dreading looking at my phone, reading the news,” Prudyvus said. “What happened? How many people died today? Has it progressed any further in the country? Is my family OK?”

Prudyvus said what she wants East Tennesseans and others to take away from her conversation is the importance of staying informed. She said continuing to stay educated about the situation is “so important.”