Jacksonville man shares experience hiding from Russian invasion in Ukraine

JACKSONVILLE, Fl. — Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have made their way out of the country and into neighboring territories like Poland and Romania.

Many others are finding different ways to stay safe, including a Jacksonville man.

“Honestly, we don’t know whether it’s safer to stay or go,” Doug Newton said.

Sequestered in an undisclosed location, Doug Newton said the sights and sounds on the ground in Ukraine are devastating to witness.

WAR IN UKRAINE: Jacksonville man shares experience hiding from Russian invasion in Ukraine

“We’ve seen jets fighting in the sky. We’ve seen jets flying over. We’ve seen a lot of military equipment, Ukrainian, moving back and forth,” Newton said.

Right now, Newton can only tell us he is about 20 miles outside of Kyiv.

He was supposed to leave the city with his wife’s daughter on Friday – but plans changed.

Now he is traveling with a couple of friends and the family dog.

“At the last minute, her daughter didn’t want to leave her basement, [she] was afraid to be out on the open highway. So, she didn’t go. My wife and I talked about it; we agreed that I would leave with Larry,” Newton said.

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Newton moved to Jacksonville when he was 15. He graduated from Stanton College Preparatory School.

He has since lived in several different places before finally settling down in Ukraine. He’s lived there for the past 12 years.

The majority of his family is still in Jacksonville.

The seven-hour time difference keeps his parents awake at night.

“Sometimes we go to bed early so we can wake up and talk to him or I stay up late… it’s been sleepless, and it’s been a concern,” Doug’s mother Bette Jadwin said.

All the way in Jacksonville, they do their best to keep in touch.

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“Our concern is for their safety and the cities like Kyiv where his wife is now; there is bombing every night. All night long there are explosions all over the city,” Doug’s stepfather Robert Jadwin said.

Newton said he doesn’t plan to leave the country.

“I don’t want to be any farther from my wife than I have to be right now. I absolutely do not want to leave Ukraine,” Newton said.

For now, he is laying low and staying out of the military’s way, watching his beloved country be torn apart.

“It’s just absolutely terrible and it’ll never be the same. But I think it’ll be stronger afterward,” Newton said.

Newton said you can help Ukraine by donating whatever amount of money you can.

He said the National Bank of Ukraine has opened a special account to raise funds for the Ukrainian Army. The account is multi-currency and open for transfers from international partners.

For donations in USD:




Account: 400807238

383 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10179, USA

Bank account: UA843000010000000047330992708

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