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Rocky Mountain Community Radio

For one Montezuma County family with roots in Ukraine, the Russian invasion is hitting close to home

Natasha Erlandson's parents, Volodymyr and Luba, lived in Kharkiv, Ukraine until a few days ago. Now their refugees working their way here to Montezuma County.
Courtesy of the Erlandson family
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Natasha Erlandson's parents, Volodymyr and Luba, lived in Kharkiv, Ukraine until a few days ago. Now their refugees working their way here to Montezuma County.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is having ripple effects across the globe from the highest levels of geopolitics to the most personal parts of people's lives. That includes right here in Southwest Colorado. 

Natasha Erlandson and her husband Todd live here in Montezuma County, but the two met years ago in Ukraine.  Todd was a missionary there at the time, and now he’s the pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in Cortez. By now, Natasha has been in the states for more than twenty years.

But she grew up in the city of Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine, which has been the target of heavy Russian attacks over the last few weeks.  And until just a few days ago, her parents, Volodymyr and Luba, still lived in the city. They had to escape the city and make their way across eastern Europe by car - as refugees. Now, Volodymyr and Luba are safe in Germany, preparing for the last leg of their journey - a flight to America, and eventually to Cortez, Colorado.

KSJD's Lucas Brady Woods sat down with Natasha and Todd at Grace Fellowship Church to talk about their family’s experience.

Natasha and Todd Erlandson run the Grace Fellowship Church in Cortez, where Todd is the pastor.
Lucas Brady Woods
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KSJD
Natasha and Todd Erlandson run the Grace Fellowship Church in Cortez, where Todd is the pastor.

Natasha as a baby and her mother Luba in 1979. Natasha is originally from Ukraine, but moved to Montezuma County with her husband Todd.
Courtesy of the Erlandson family
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Natasha as a baby and her mother Luba in 1979. Natasha is originally from Ukraine, but moved to Montezuma County with her husband Todd.

Natasha, pictured here at 12 years old, grew up in Kharkiv, Ukraine, which has been a target of heavy Russian attacks since the invasion of Ukraine began a few weeks ago.
Courtesy of the Erlandson family
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Natasha, pictured here at 12 years old, grew up in Kharkiv, Ukraine, which has been a target of heavy Russian attacks since the invasion of Ukraine began a few weeks ago.

When Russia's invasion began, Volodymyr and Luba, Natasha's parents, watched missiles fall on Kharkiv from their apartment window, pictured here before the war.
Courtesy of the Erlandson family
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When Russia's invasion began, Volodymyr and Luba, Natasha's parents, watched missiles fall on Kharkiv from their apartment window, pictured here before the war.

Natasha with her mother Luba in downtown Kharkiv in 2016. Natasha and Todd visited family in Ukraine many times over the years.
Courtesy of the Erlandson family
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Natasha with her mother Luba in downtown Kharkiv in 2016. Natasha and Todd visited family in Ukraine many times over the years.

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