Chance encounter in Ukraine brings two Salt Lake City men together

Mar 28, 2022, 5:06 PM | Updated: Jun 7, 2022, 5:22 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — There’s something about a good coffee shop that leads to even better conversations. Maybe it’s the smell or the ambiance. Or maybe it’s just a comfortable, safe place to talk about anything.

Sergey Zasukha knows all about how important safety is.

That’s why he came to this Salt Lake City coffee shop.

He couldn’t thank his new friend, Rob Sturgill, enough.

“How can you not want to meet somebody who literally saved your sister and your sister’s life, you know?” he said.

The meeting Saturday evening was the first time these two men have met. However, they have spoken to each other before on the phone.

Sturgill and his team were recently in Lviv, Ukraine, to help Ukrainians in the middle of a war.

“We showed up there to deliver some supplies,” Sturgill said to Zasukha.

One day, Sturgill, who is from Salt Lake City, was bringing medical supplies to people when he met a woman and her daughter desperate for a ride to the border.

Russian soldiers were getting closer, and she wanted to escape.

Sturgill said yes.

“As we started to visit and she was getting into the van, she mentioned she has a brother in Salt Lake City, Utah, and, you know, really? So, as we’re driving down the road, basically I said, let’s call your brother.”

Her brother is Sergey Zasukha, and it was the first time these two Salt Lake City men spoke to each other.

“It’s probably a phone call I’ll never forget,” Sturgill said. “Just to let him know that, hey, I’ve got your sister in the car, and we’re going to take care of her. And so, it was kind of a tender, tender phone call between the two of us.”

Zasukha’s sister and niece are now safely across the border.

A few days later, Lviv was attacked and bombed by the Russian military.

“You changed the direction of somebody else’s whole generation,” Zasukha told Sturgill at the coffee shop.

“It’s very grateful to be able to be there, to be there at the right time,” Sturgill said back to him.

Coffee shops have always been places where friendships grow, and it looks like this one is going to last.

“We’ll be friends the rest of our lives because our paths have crossed,” Sturgill said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

(Karah Brackin/KSL TV)...
Josh Ellis

Woman killed in crash that has closed Highland Drive

A 70-year-old woman was killed in a crash involving a semi-truck on Highland Drive, according to police.
7 hours ago
(North Davis Fire District)...
Josh Ellis

Davis County home destroyed in early morning fire

Officials with the North Davis Fire District say a West Point home is "a total loss" after a Tuesday morning fire.
7 hours ago
(John Wilson/KSL TV)...
Josh Ellis

Motorcyclist killed in NB I-15 crash in Davis County; lanes reopened

A motorcyclist was killed in a crash that temporarily closed northbound Interstate 15 Tuesday morning.
7 hours ago
The aftermath of the 15 to 20 acre Magna fire. (Credit: Isaiah Salazar)...
Michael Houck

Firefighters battled against two smaller fires Sunday night

While fire crews battled against the Deuel Creek Fire in Centerville, other first responders handled two other blazes Sunday night.
1 day ago
An RV completely burns down on I-16, shutting down southbound traffic. (Credit: UDOT)...
Michael Houck

RV completely burns down on I-15

On Monday afternoon, an RV was engulfed in flames shutting down Interstate 15.
1 day ago
Refugees study for the US citizenship test....
Erin Cox

Rolling the dice for citizenship: Refugees join SLC English program for citizenship application

There’s a unique program here in Utah designed to help refugees and immigrants with their citizenship applications.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Chance encounter in Ukraine brings two Salt Lake City men together