More than 200 United States Peace Corps Volunteers serving in Ukraine have been evacuated as a safety precaution.
“We were just getting some really great projects started when I had to leave,” Ryan Knight said.
Knight graduated from Whitworth University in May 2013. He left for Ukraine in September and was one of seven people from the northwest that was volunteering in the eastern European country before being evacuated. Unfortunately for him, service time was cut short due to rising conflict in the region. Knight left the country on February 24 and is now in his hometown of Eureka, California.
"I've been keeping in touch with my students in Ukraine,” Knight said. “We've been sending videos back and forth and I’ve been communicating with teachers there."
Knight was serving in a village near the western side of the Carpathian Mountains. It's almost 750 hundred miles northwest of Crimea, where Russian military intervention has put the world on edge over talks of war. Regardless of the distance, Knight, along with the 200 other Peace Corps Volunteers in the country were evacuated and are now waiting to hear if they'll go back.
"I spent all this time learning Ukrainian, I really invested in the culture and I was just having a such a great time and just when I started getting use to everything, I had to leave,” Knight said.
Knight was teaching English. He expects to know by April if he'll be able to continue that work.
"Anytime between April 14 I can be called back,” Knight said. “There's a lot of support, we've heard for us to come back, so we're hoping to come back."
The Peace Corps said in a written statement that they will continue to asses the situation in Ukraine, and while they hope the volunteers can return, safety and security comes first.