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South Carolina woman struggling to get money to family in Ukraine

Kateryna Dempsey says she was sending her family money for living expenses, groceries and medication, but she is no longer able to do that.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A Ukrainian woman living here in the Midlands is desperate to support loved ones in Ukraine but is finding herself unable to send money to help. 

Kateryna Dempsey, who lives in West Columbia, is Ukrainian. She says she moved to America in 2003, but much of her family remains in Ukraine. 

Dempsey says one of her uncles is in a part of the country now occupied by Russia.

“Well, I’m afraid for their lives,” told News 19. "I have another uncle, they are not safe at all, they are still in the basement.”

As the war continues, Dempsey says her fear for their safety grows. “Every day you wake up, and first thing you do, you just start calling them on skype, just to check on them.”

RELATED: 'I am alone': Ukrainian man's entire family killed as they tried to escape war torn country

Dempsey says she was sending her family money for living expenses, groceries and medication, but she is no longer able to do that.

“For the family that live in the occupied area, you pretty much can’t do anything," Dempsey said.

Reid Tymico, an adjunct finance professor at the University of South Carolina says one way to get money into the country is through Cryptocurrency.

He says without the SWIFT network in place, which is the way banks communicate payments, there's no way to wire money from an American bank.

RELATED: What is SWIFT? The 'nuclear option' for sanctioning Russia

Tymico says the first step to get involved in crypto is to set up a crypto wallet.

“Not that difficult to set up a crypto wallet and accept a payment, Tymico told News 19. "There are 100,000s of apps that allow you to do this." 

Kateryna says at this point in time she is not looking into crypto but is praying for her families safety.

RELATED: Using cryptocurrency to avoid sanctions is possible, but difficult

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