SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)– This week marks one year since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Very few people expected the war in Ukraine to carry on this long and several South Dakota residents still have family in the war zone.

Alla Kureninova moved to Sioux Falls in 2011 from Ukraine.

“The whole February I feel like everyone who has been connected to Ukraine or who is still in Ukraine, February has been hard for all of us. It brings back memories of some of those first days because obviously just like the rest of the world, we are all thinking there is no way that this is still going on a year later,” said Kureninova.

Since the war broke out last February, her sisters have moved in with her, however, her parents are still living in the war zone.

“We were all sure it was going to end. First, we thought it was going to be just a couple of days, then we thought a couple weeks, then we thought a couple months. None of us thought it would be right here,” said Kureninova.

Natailya Rezek is an urgent care nurse in Pierre, and is originally from Ukraine, where her extended family still lives.

“I have talked to many friends of mine, some of them who live in the United States, some of them live in Ukraine, and we did not think this would drag for this long, we thought maybe two, three months,” said Rezek.

Rezek has been creating care boxes to send to those still in the war zone, as well as collecting monetary donations to help with the effort. So far, she has sent around 15 packages overseas and has collected 30,000 dollars in donations.

“I will accept anything that can be used on the front line. Anything life-saving,” said Rezek.

Reflecting on a year of the war, and hoping for a victory.

“I definitely see victory for Ukraine. I probably speak for a lot of Ukrainians when I say we are not wishing for peace, we are wishing for victory and I do hope the world changes for the better after this,” said Kureninova.

There are several ways to help. There are organizations where you can host a Ukrainian family in your home. You can also give monetary donations and supplies.