CHICAGO (WLS) -- A Chicago area native has made multiple trips to the frontlines of Ukraine since the start of the war. Jeffrey Gettleman grew up in Evanston and is now the foreign correspondent for the New York Times.
Although cell connections are very hard to come by, he was able to check in with ABC7 from a city just outside of Kherson.
"This is the only place I can get a connection. I'm sitting outside a small restaurant," Gettleman said.
It was after dark in Ukraine when Gettleman spoke to ABC7 during what is now his fifth trip back to the frontlines covering Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
"The city around me is pretty dark. A lot of places have lost power [and] people are struggling with no heat, no power, no running water," Gettleman said. "I've been living through this for the last month and some people have been dealing with this since the beginning of the war."
Gettleman shared some photos as he answered why he's risking his own safety to tell these stories.
"I feel like this is a big, important moment in the world. And there are stories that really should be shared," Gettleman said. "I want people to understand what the Ukrainians are going through, and what they are thinking and what they are feeling and that this war is not just one battle after another or bodies lying in the snow. It's about so many people whose lives have been turned upside down -- that sense of shock."
More than nine months after that sense of shock began, the veteran journalist described the Ukrainians' striking resolve.
"It gives me chills just sharing that idea, that so many people here you speak to want to fight to the end lose power, heat... Your kids are not in school, buildings being blown up, people being blown up but still saying, 'I do not want to give up,'" Gettleman said.
In the midst of devastation, with so little to spare, what wasn't lost is hospitality. It is seen in moments, like when locals offered Gettleman and his crew a toast to say goodbye.
"It's in the course of being a journalist, but it's also just trying to connect. Trying to share a moment with people who have been through so much. And it helps me understand even more deeply what it's like to live here and this culture and to have experienced the war," he said.