Is there still an auto glass industry in Ukraine? The conflict between Ukraine and Russia has affected not only the auto glass industry there but also in the United States.
Abtockᴫo Pem lives and owns an auto glass shop in Kyiv, Ukraine. “I had to close the business. Our industry is now irrelevant. I do volunteer work,” Pem says. “Shells are exploding on the outskirts of Kyiv. Many cities have been destroyed. The suburbs of Kyiv — Irpin, Bucha, Gostomel — were destroyed.”
In an interview today, Pem says that Russian troops broke through to Kyiv, and Ukraine’s army “has been fighting heroically for 12 days.” Ukraine’s people need help. “If America cannot close the sky, then give us weapons. We beg you to give us substantial help! God is with us!”
Bill Weckworth, president of Titan Auto Glass in Waterloo, Ontario, says one of his employees began dating a woman who lives in Kyiv about two years ago. “They met online during COVID. He went over a few times [to visit her in Ukraine],” Weckworth says. When his employee, who is not being identified here for security reasons, flew to Kyiv three weeks ago, he intended to marry her, stay for two weeks and return to the U.S. February 28. She would follow after her immigration papers were complete. “And everything went sideways while he was there,” Weckworth says.
Weckworth, who has stayed in touch with his employee through Facebook messenger, says plans changed about a week after he arrived in Kyiv. Outgoing flights had been canceled. “I don’t know how I’m going to get out,” he told Weckworth. The couple married February 21, and got on a train the morning of February 24 for Slovakia, he said. “We heard tanks roll in.”
“They were held up at the border for days but finally made it across,” Weckworth recounted. On the night of Feb. 24, Russia began to bomb Kyiv. The couple is now waiting in Slovakia for completion of immigration papers to permit his fiancé to come to the U.S.
Weckworth will keep his position open at Titan Auto. “That’s all you can do,” he says.