Lost for words, a New Zealand-based Ukrainian community leader has called the start of the war simply "awful".
And a Kiwi living in Lithuania - 1133km from Ukraine - has says locals there fear Russia will soon turn its eyes on claiming some of the Baltic nations.
In the early hours of Thursday morning, explosions rocked several Ukraine cities, including the capital Kyiv, as Russia launched "full-scale war", the Ukrainian Government said.
Yurko Gladun, chairman of the Northern region Ukrainian association of New Zealand, said like many Ukrainians, he cannot believe it is truly happening.
"You can not imagine and you can not believe that in the 21st century this is possible," he said.
"This is over 70 years after the bloody World War [II].
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has declared the country is under martial law. Just after 6pm NZT, the people of Ukraine began waking up to the Russian invasion. Sirens sounded in Kyiv, warning population that the city is under attack, as explosions could be heard in the distance.
Gladun said there were rumours that Kyiv's international airport has been bombed, preventing any flights from coming in or out of the airport.
It comes after Ukraine declared a state of emergency over the unfolding crisis with Russia, and Putin sparked panic by recognising the breakaway territories of Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine – known collectively as the Donbas region – earlier this week.
Gladun said he has found himself asking why this is happening to his country.
"Ukraine was a territory that suffered the most during the World War [II], the most and in the First World War ... all the killing happened and now again and you just ask why," Gladun said.
Gladun has spoken with his family, who live in the Western part of Ukraine, and said they were not aware of what was happening until he called.
"I actually woke them, they didn't even know that the war has started. I just called them and said 'alright we will talk later," he said.
Gladun said Ukrainians who live in New Zealand predominantly come from the eastern parts of Ukraine, including Kyiv and Kharkiv, which have been hit.
"There are lots of guys here and it's like pulling a truck right over somebody."
While the casualties are not yet known, Gladun believes it will be a "humanitarian catastrophe".
"I know after eight years of war, Ukrainians know who their enemies are, they will fight, we will fight eye and tooth and that means there will be heaps of casualties, thousands," he said.
Although New Zealand is thousands of kilometres away, Gladun said New Zealanders can donate items Ukraine residents may need.
"We can help, we can organise communities to send clothing, send food, send whatever, but we have to probably wait to see how the situation falls."
Gladun believes there will be thousands of refugees and hopes New Zealand will allow those in Ukraine to migrate to New Zealand where they may have loved ones.
"As we have 1000-plus Ukrainians living here, some of their families would want to come here, so let them come here.
"For many families, it may be the only shelter."
According to the 2018 Census, there are 1281 Ukrainians living in New Zealand.
Although Ukraine is closer to countries such as Poland and Hungry, Gladun said many Ukrainians would be lost without family, friends and resources while trying to live in a new country.
However, if they come to New Zealand, Gladun said they will have the support of their loved ones.
Fears now for the Baltics
A New Zealander living in Lithuanian say there is "immense" solidarity for Ukraine but said there is now a fear Russia will target Baltic countries next.
The grouping includes the countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
"There is real fear that if Ukraine is absolutely taken Putin will turn his eyes towards the three Baltics next," Simon Rees said.
Rees often travels to Russia for work and said he currently getting in contact with staff members in Moscow.
A staff member who is trying to fly out of Moscow, told him flight prices have become "three times more expensive".
"I sent them telegram and whatsapp messages just saying we are sending solidarity love and hope your way," he said.
Since October, Rees said the EU has been financially hit before todays bombings. "Already the cost of living and quality of living has been impacted since October last year when the whole thing started rumbling."
Just like the rest of the EU and the world, Rees said "we will just have to wait and see".