Wichita State women’s basketball coach impacted by conflict near home country

Published: Feb. 24, 2022 at 9:17 PM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - An assistant coach and a player for the Wichita State University women’s basketball team are among the international connections in Kansas keeping a close eye on the unrest in Ukraine.

WSU Women’s Basketball Associate Head Coach Ewa Laskowska is from Poland, a neighboring county to Ukraine. She said it’s a devastating situation that is also taking an emotional toll on Shocker freshman guard Tanya Platonova, from Moscow, Russia. Laskowska said Platonova was in tears as they talked about the situation Thursday during a gameday shootaround.

Laskowska said Platonova told her she has friends who will likely have to be involved in a war that many Russians do not want.

“I asked her how she was doing, and her tears just went down on her face, obviously because her whole family and all her friends are back in Russia and she has a lot of friends who are in the military, so her friends will most likely go to the war,” Laskowska said.

Laskowska lived in Poland for about 20 years and has experienced tragic times in her life, growing up in a war-torn country during the 1980s. But she said for something like the Russian invasion in Ukraine to happen in today’s time, is even more sad.

“I really feel for the people affected by this tragedy because that’s what it is,” Laskowska said. “I have friends who live in Ukraine and obviously, Ukraine is a border country with Poland, so that obviously is going to affect Poland as well as a lot of other countries in Europe.”

The coach said this is devastating for Eastern Europe as many will lose their lives, homes, families and more.

“This situation with Russia is obviously really devastating, heartbreaking, and so many things are wrong,” Laskowska said. “I have friends who live in Ukraine, and obviously Ukraine is a border country of Poland so obviously that’s going to affect Poland as well as a lot of other countries.”

Laskowska said everyone should send prayers for people in Ukraine and for everyone involved. She hopes this is not a repeat of past wars.

“I really hope and pray that history doesn’t repeat itself,” she said. “And we’re not going to have a World War III that’s going to involve so many people and affects so many people’s lives,” she said.

If you know someone in Ukraine that is currently trying to evacuate, you can call the The Ukrainian Emergency Assistance Line: 606-260-4379.

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