(KLST/KSAN)– Uliana and her husband heard explosions coming from the Hostomel Airport. It’s a military airport and one of the first targets when the war started in Ukraine.

Uliana said residents were told to hide in basements, but because she and her husband are in wheelchairs, there was no way for them to take cover.

“We do have a basement in the building, but since our apartment is located on the 1st floor,” Uliana said. “We knew that it was safer for us to stay there then to get trapped under the rubble in a basement or something. This was our decision.”

She said the shooting got closer and someone had opened fire from her balcony.

“We heard someone scream, “I got shot,” and we saw the foot prints on the balcony,” Uliana said.

At this time, Uliana and her husband were staying clear from the windows. They hid in the bathroom. but they could only hide out for so long because of their injuries.

“We would still sleep in our bed because it’s important for people in a wheelchair to not sit in it for 24 hours,” Uliana said. “However, we pretty much realized and accepted the reality that if a missile was going to get us, then it was going to get us.”

They ran out of water and gas, and it wasn’t long before the electricity went out. They soon decided to go out to look for necessities.

“The day before we left, the weather was very cold, only about 8 degrees,” Uliana said. “It was very scary, especially for the people with sustained injuries or trauma because it was very dangerous to get hypothermia. “

She said the cold wasn’t their only problem. Without internet, they had gone days without knowing what was going on outside of their apartment. That was until a neighbor told them there would be an evacuation.

“We decided to leave,” Uliana said. “We took our cat, our documents, and some essential stuff and later on when we finally got to Lviv, I realized that all I have in my bag is cat food and paperwork. But in that moment, I was afraid to take more stuff with me because we knew that if something happened with the car, we would need to carry all the bags. There was one more obstacle that was preventing us from going further. A lot of people who got a chance to evacuate through Irpin did so by walking across the destroyed bridge and we knew we wouldn’t be able to do that.”

Uliana and her husband drove out of the city. She said she saw bullet holes in the buildings and bodies laying in the streets.

“I was trying to focus on the bus in front of me,” Uliana said. “I didn’t want to let myself look around because there were shot up cars everywhere, some of them with dead people still inside. There was children stuff all over the road. We were moving towards the evacuation point, but the shooting just wouldn’t stop.”

After waiting hours for the evacuation buses, they saw a convoy of hundreds of cars. She said someone yelled ‘we’re going to Kyiv’, so they hopped in line and made their way out.

Uliana said now that they are safe, she and her husband became leaders of an organization called ‘Group for Active Rehabilitation’. The group helps others in wheelchairs get the resources they need and help those who are new to wheelchairs as the war continues.

“The majority of our leaders are in wheelchairs,” Uliana said. “Some of them are outside of Ukraine right now and are working from there. Some are still in Ukraine. Also, a lot of people who we helped are calling us and telling us that they would like to volunteer and help us out as well, so the organization is really growing. “