Dmitry Bodyu, a priest and community leader from Melitopol, Ukraine, landed in Kelowna on June 21 and spoke about his experience as a prisoner of war.
Bodyu is touring the area to thank the Kelowna community for the help that has been provided to Ukraine in their war efforts against Russia.
On Feb. 24, Bodyu said his family woke up to the sound of rockets destroying the city.
“By three in the afternoon we already had Russian troops in.”
He explained that after being met by resistance from the citizens, Russian troops began arresting people with influence.
Bodyu said that they arrested the mayor, people organizing protests and himself.
He was having coffee and reading the bible with his wife at their home in Melitopol when Russian soldiers swarmed his home and took him prisoner.
He was held for eight days and interrogated by the Russian secret service and military, who believed he was an FBI agent, due to him having dual citizenship with Ukraine and America.
He was told they wanted him dead, but was spared as his death would have caused uproar in Ukraine and within the global community, who were paying close attention to the situation.
Since his release, him and his family fled to Poland where he continues to share his faith and work to help others impacted by the war.
“I think only God and faith can help us to get through things like this.”