Ukrainian tech workers in Silicon Valley help from across the globe as war unfolds at home

Amanda del Castillo Image
Tuesday, March 8, 2022
SJ Ukrainian tech workers help efforts at home as war unfolds
Ukrainian tech workers living in Silicon Valley are watching the war unfold, and doing their part to help from across the globe.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Aside from its rich agriculture, Ukrainians in the Bay Area explained their country is also known for its massive community of tech workers.

"We have a strong school of math, physics, and by extension, software engineering as well," Victor Sergienko told ABC7 News. "If you're a good software engineer, where should you go? Here!"

Silicon Valley is where Sergienko was referring to. The region, a home far away from home for Sergienko and many other Ukrainians working in Western tech.

They're watching the news of the Russian invasion, witnessing the destruction, and waiting on any word from loved ones.

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"It's a horrible thing to hear when you call your friends on the phone, and hear some explosions on the backgrounds," Denys Mamrak said. Also a software engineer living in Silicon Valley, he said his first impulse was to fly back home and fight.

"But then I realized that I'm not military trained. I was never in military service," he added. "And most likely, I will be a burden. I won't be useful at all."

However, Mamrak found purpose in staying put. He and others have attended local anti-war rallies and have donated to humanitarian relief efforts.

Still, he and others pointed to the undeniable urge to do more.

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Sergienko shared, "We were brought up with a strong belief that this is the way, the responsibility of every, every- at least every man."

"I'm not really experienced with how to shoot and all this stuff. But if it takes longer, probably would consider to go," Yuriy Sokolov told ABC7 News.

A product designer, Sokolov said his family and friends have already evacuated Ukraine. However, his concern is the country's elderly and people with special needs who can't easily leave.

He said times were tough for his own mother who left her home of more than 30 years. Sokolov shared photos of his mother with a relative in Prague, both have some champagne and toasting to their safety.

RELATED: Bay Area native describes harrowing 30-hour journey to escape Ukraine war zone

A Napa Valley man living in Kyiv has become one of the millions of refugees that have fled Ukraine after the Russian invasion.

"Imagine my 75-year-old mom and 67-year-old aunt, with cat. They were trying to board for about like 10 hours," he shared.

There are countless stories of resiliency during the on-going Russian invasion, and Ukrainians near and far say they are closer than ever.

Sergienko even joked, "We have a saying, 'Where there are two Ukrainians, there are three opinions.' We could not agree among ourselves about anything, just anything. But now, everybody's working in perfect unity. And it's great."

"I wish the price was not so high," he concluded.

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