AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – Ukraine is thousands of miles away, but the effect of what’s happening there hit closer to home.

“It is painful for both of us because the people are suffering on both sides,” Roman Klimenko told NewsChannel 6’s Aiken Bureau Chief Shawn Cabbagestalk.

Klimenko lives in Aiken and grew up in Ukraine. His wife was born in Russia. The couple and their three children are watching everything unfold. “They absolutely know what’s going on. They ask questions,” he shared.

As an invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces got underway, Klimenko started searching for answers by way of reputable social media. Many of his family members remain in the region, including his 87-year-old mother.

“My niece lives in the city of Mariupol and she’s been living there for the past eight years,” he said. “She’s somewhat immune to it. Her sense is as though it is wonderful that you are able to carry out everyday activities. At times you get that denial that it may not happen,” he added. He also talked with friends all over Ukraine. “It’s a sense of disbelief. It’s a sense of it cannot happen, but it did,” he recalled.

Klimenko says he’s also concerned about orphanages. His family in the U.S. hosts some of the children each year. Although the U.S. has imposed sanctions, he feels they may not go far enough.

“Hopefully have some tactical moves to resolve the issue, not to bottle it, it cannot be bottled,” he said. “The problem is we’ve been feeding this guy candy, and now he wants the factory. We can’t make that happen. We need to weaponize Ukraine with the power, but native forces need to start really thinking about offering some assistance here.”

This week, Senator Lindsey Graham talked about the invasion. “Do I think there’ll be a third World War over Russia’s seizure of Ukraine,” Graham asked. “No, but I do believe there’s going to be conflict at every turn,” he added. “I look at it as a World War III already,” Klimenko shared. “Just because not the entire world is throwing down with guns and firepower. Thankfully it’s enough of that to go around and it’s provided to Ukraine.,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Aiken man says the consequences of Russia’s actions are far-reaching. “The fight for Ukraine is not only fighting for Ukraine and Ukrainian people but the fight for democratic freedoms. And that is crucial, ” he added.