The blue and yellow on her swimsuit hold more meaning to Drexel senior Lera Nasedkina than just a school affiliation. It also symbolizes pride for her country, Ukraine.

Less than a week after winning three gold medals, two silvers, and one bronze in the Colonial Athletic Association championships Feb. 17-19, Nasedkina received a text from her mother, who now resides in the United States, telling her that their hometown of Kyiv was under attack by the Russian military.

Watching this unfold from across the world has led to sleepless nights and a fear for her loved ones.

» READ MORE: Follow Ukraine-Russia updates

“It is stressful; I haven’t slept much,” Nasedkina said. “After I got a text from my mom [last Thursday], I just couldn’t sleep. I was up the whole night talking, texting, and calling people, trying to figure out if they were OK.”

Kyiv remains under siege as well as the rest of the country.

“I just want people to know that all Ukraine is doing right now is trying to protect itself, nothing more,” Nasedkina said. “Ukraine has not done anything to Russia and yet it is being attacked for reasons known only to the Russian government.”

Nasedkina grew up in Kyiv before moving to the United States in 2013 at the age of 13 and attended San Mateo (Calif.) High School. But Nasedkina still has deep roots in Ukraine.

Her childhood friends and some family members are still in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, with a population of about 3 million. As missiles continue to rain down, Ukrainians have been rushing to evacuate with the men ages 18-60 required to remain and fight. More than 800,000 refugees have fled the country, about half of them to Poland. Some of Nasedkina’s friends are still trying to move safely out of Kyiv.

Nasedkina visits Ukraine often to help with her family’s bee farm, Pasichnyka 21, which is managed safely by her mother in the United States.

» READ MORE: What to know about Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s TV president turned wartime leader

Nasedkina has experienced plenty of success with Drexel. At the CAA championships, she set a program record while earning a silver medal in the 50 freestyle, won another silver in the 100, and was on four relay teams that medaled.

This year she wanted to try to qualify for the Ukraine national swimming team, which is on hold given today’s circumstances.

I want people to understand that this is a problem for the whole world, not just Ukraine, and I am afraid to think of what could come next.

Lera Nasedkina

Despite heavy fighting, Ukraine still holds control over Kyiv.

“It’s scary. I’m not an expert on what should be done but any help is very much appreciated,” Nasedkina said. “I just want people to know it is an actual war and it’s not just something that’s blown out of proportion. There’s explosions, there’s missiles, there’s people dying. It’s not made up. "

The invasion came as a surprise to Nesadkina.

“Everyone was thinking, ‘Why would [Putin] do that?’ So it didn’t really make sense to me,” she said. “But it happened and I was taken aback, I think we all are.”

» READ MORE: Why is Belarus helping Russia invade Ukraine? An explainer on the latest in the conflict

One way Nasedkina says Americans can help is by staying informed and being aware of misinformation on social media.

“We want and need help. Currently Ukraine is fighting Russia alone, but it really shouldn’t,” Nasedkina said. “I want people to understand that this is a problem for the whole world, not just Ukraine, and I am afraid to think of what could come next.”

As her people continue to fight to defend their country, Nasedkina said patriotism in Ukraine runs deep, “especially in the past few years.”

» READ MORE: Where to donate to help Ukraine right now

“The official language of Ukraine is Ukrainian. People still speak Russian but in the past years a lot of people started speaking Ukrainian instead,” Nasedkina said.

“There’s been a lot of things painted in blue and yellow. And us Ukrainians are known for fighting for what we stand for.”