‘We Want Peace': 17-Year-Old Ukrainian Exchange Student in Milton Fears for Family

Serhii Nikulin, a 17-year-old Ukraine native living in Milton, Massachusetts, is concerned for his family's wellbeing as Russia attacks his home country

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Russia's invasion of Ukraine has the world on edge, but the fear is acute for a 17-year-old exchange student living in Massachusetts.

Serhii Nikulin, born in Ukraine, has no idea when he'll be able to see his family again. He believes they are safe for now, and he can only hope that they stay that way.

The teen has been staying in Milton since September. He's thousands of miles away from his parents and his 10-year-old sister as Russian President Vladimir Putin mounts an all-out offensive on his home country.

"This just helps me to feel better when I miss my parents," he said, pointing to a collection of photos.

They bring Nikulin comfort during a time of uncertainty for his family.

"When I see what is going on, it gives me a hard time, again, because I cannot support my family," he said. "Ukraine doesn't want war. Right now, again, my country is in the position of the defense, and we want peace."

Nikulin says he now spends most of his time trying to stay up to date on the latest information while his family stays in a shelter.

"It's just tough, because I see more and more dangerous situations inside the country," Nikulin said.

The student and junior hockey player was supposed to be in Massachusetts to focus on his future and his dreams of going to college in the U.S. But now, his biggest concern is losing contact with his family.

"It's the 21st century, and we should learn, probably, how to communicate and how to decide those kinds of conflicts without the war, without the fighting because always kids will be inside that conflict," he said. "Our city, our country deserves a better future."

Nikulin had intended to go back home to Ukraine in April to practice with his hockey team, but he now plans to stay in Massachusetts indefinitely.

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