FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) — Daria Starovoitova is a Ukrainian student at the University of North Alabama (UNA) that is being directly impacted by the Russian war in Ukraine.

Daria moved to America four years ago and recently started school at UNA. She told News 19 that she was devastated when she first heard that her home country was being attacked, and that hearing people talk about the war has been mentally exhausting.

“I would say the first week I couldn’t get out of bed. I was crying. I couldn’t believe it,” Starovoitova said. “I couldn’t quite understand what was going on and why it was going on.”

Daria said that her grandparents live in a relatively safe part of Ukraine. However, communication has been difficult at times because of action in nearby cities.

“They experience very unstable internet connection,” she said. “It gives me a lot of anxiety because I have to check on my grandparents at least three times a day.”

As the Ukrainian military continues to hold onto its capital city of Kyiv, Daria told News 19 that she’s very proud of her people. She never had any doubt that they would fight hard and persevere.

“I have always been proud of my people,” she said. “We have always been fighting for our independence.”

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pleaded with the U.S. Congress for help Wednesday morning as the Russian invasion of his country enters its third week.