Ukrainian refugee in Madison County gives birth to baby

WAFF's Megan Plotka reporting
Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 11:53 AM CST
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MADISON, Ala. (WAFF) - Out of death and destruction, a new life was born. A woman who escaped the Russian invasion of Ukraine just had her baby in the Tennessee Valley.

Viktoriia Kuznietsova left Ukraine when she heard alarms in her hometown, Melitopol, in February 2022 with just a few possessions and her seven-year-old son, Artem. Through many twists and turns, she landed in Madison expecting another child.

“She’s really my girl from darkness, Megan, Meggy,” said Kuznietsova.

Kuznietsova’s daughter is just a week and a half old, born just a day before the one-year anniversary of the Russian attack on Ukraine and the day Kuznietsova had to leave her home.

She first escaped to Israel until she could finally make her way to the United States through the Welcome Connect program. That’s where she found the Wheelers who became her sponsors.

They helped her build a life of her own in Madison. She says she misses her life in Ukraine but she doesn’t regret leaving.

“You think about myself and how I did this all,” said Kuznietsova. “It’s very far from my country. Of course, I very miss my parents and I’m glad I’m here because I’m safe, my son is safe, my daughter is safe.”

Kuznietsova had to leave a lot behind her friends, family and most of her possessions. Neighbors across Madison stepped in and donated money, food and more.

WAFF's Megan Plotka reporting

She just moved into a new apartment and it is fully furnished by donations and her new daughter already has a full wardrobe.

“It’s not people that know her that well, there are some, but people really come out of the woodwork and want to help and want to support in any way they can,” said Kelly Wheeler. “She’s been given so many baby clothes like she definitely has more than my kids did which is great. Baby clothes, baby items, one man donated two strollers. It’s just been really really incredible to see that throughout it just hasn’t stopped.”

Wheeler says she’s inspired by how Viktoriia has been strong through this entire process.

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