Ukrainian Silicon Valley tech workers help from around the world as war unfolds at home

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) — Along with its rich agriculture, Ukrainians in the Bay Area said 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,” Victor Sergienko told ABC7 News. “If you are a good software engineer, where should you go? Right here ! »

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

They watch the news of the Russian invasion, witness the destruction and wait for any word from their loved ones.

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“It’s a horrible thing to hear when you call your friends on the phone and hear explosions in the background,” said Denys Mamrak. Also a software engineer living in Silicon Valley, he said his first impulse was to go home and fight.

“But then I realized that I had no military training. I never did military service,” he added. “And most likely, I will be a burden. I won’t be useful at all.”

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

Yet he and others have pointed to the undeniable need to do more.

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Sergienko shared, “We were brought up with the firm belief that this is the way, the responsibility of everything, at least every man.”

“I don’t really have experience with how to shoot and stuff. But if it takes longer, I would probably consider going,” Yuriy Sokolov told ABC7 News.

Product designer Sokolov said his family and friends had already evacuated from Ukraine. However, his concern is for the country’s elderly and people with special needs who cannot easily leave.

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

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“Imagine my 75-year-old mother and my 67-year-old aunt, with a cat. They tried to get on board for about 10 hours,” he shared.

There are countless stories of resilience during the ongoing 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 couldn’t agree on anything, anything, but now everyone is working in perfect unity, and that’s great.

“I wish the price wasn’t so high,” he concluded.

TAKE ACTION: Local and national support for Ukrainians

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