Natalia is from Ukraine. She came to Italy just over a year ago for her youngest child to receive treatment for cancer. Her other children arrived in the city in recent days.
When the war started, my children left home and went to Italy. Our house was under fire, so we decided to evacuate the children. My eldest daughter is pregnant, so my husband put the children on the train.
Natalia's older children traveled from Ukraine to Rome over five days. They received help from several family friends in Lviv and Poland. In Krakow, volunteers helped them cross into the Czech Republic and Austria.
They then reached Verona, where an Italian family took them in. Now, all of them are in Rome, except their father.
On the same day that my husband put the children on the train, he went to the military registration and enlistment office to serve in the Ukrainian army.
Natalia and her children exchange messages with their father in the morning and at dinner. The day this interview was recorded, they were able to speak for a few minutes on the phone. They also keep in touch with their relatives in cities where the internet is still working.
Their friends in Kharkiv, Sumy and Irpin, on the other hand, are unreachable. Most of them live in underground shelters for fear of bombings. A feeling Natalia remembers well.
By the time the children came to me, I didn't want to eat or drink. We just cried and waited for them. It was very difficult because we understood that maybe we will not be able to evacuate them
Natalia is grateful for the welcome she and her children have received in Italy, but she does have one request for Europe.
I would like to appeal to people who help Ukrainians: we thank you for not leaving us. Everyone is asking what else Europeans can do to help people in Ukraine. Please close the sky in Ukraine. This pain is unbearable. The Russians cannot break into our cities, because the Ukrainian army is defending Ukraine, so the Russians are bombing our cities, destroying them.
She continues to hope that the war to come to an end soon. And although her husband is on the front lines, at least she knows her children are safe in Italy.