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Out in the World: Gay Bay Area Ukrainian American rallying support for LGBTQ community during Russian invasion

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More than 10,000 miles from his childhood hometown in Ukraine, San Francisco Bay Area gay Ukrainian Leonid "Leo" Volobrynskyy is horrified watching Russia destroy the country where his family and close friends still live."It was a nightmare since the day started," said Volobrynskyy about Russia's invasion of Ukraine that began February 23.Volobrynskyy, 40, was born and raised in a Jewish-Russian-Ukrainian home in Odesa, the country's third largest city, until he was 20 years old, he told the Bay Area Reporter.

That was when he and his father joined his mother in the United States as a part of a reunification program in 2002. His mother obtained political asylum in the U.S.

in 2000."You can close your eyes and picture where you're from," he said, seeing where he grew up being bombed, "the uncertainty of it, the horror of what may happen, and the horror of what's actually happening is devastating."Ukraine, a former Soviet bloc country, broke away from the old Soviet Union in 1991 nearly 70 years after it became one of the founding Soviet states in 1922.

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