Ukrainian refugees

Ukrainian Refugee in CT Hopes New Policy Helps Others Trying to Reach U.S.

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It’s been three weeks since Anastasia Kavunenko and her two-year-old daughter Karolina made it all the way from war-torn Ukraine to Connecticut. But there are still tears.

Anastasia was able to seek refuge in the U.S. to live with her boyfriend’s parents in Suffield. Starting Monday under President Biden’s Uniting for Ukraine program, 100,000 refugees like Anastasia can stay in the U.S. with a sponsor for up to two years. They must also pass a background check and Covid requirements. 

“It makes sense, especially for people who have relatives here,” Kavunenko said.

“When I brought them through, I told them that I wanted to make sure that they are not a burden to the United States and I’ll cover everything,” Rick Sotil said.

Sotil said he hopes the plan will extend to any potential refugees once it reaches beyond the 100,000 refugee mark and that there will be an eventual plan to someday get them back home when it's safe.

“She wants to go home; it’s not that she wants to stay here. We see what they’re going through, so here is home, but there is home.,” Sotil said.

Until home is possible, Anastasia is learning the ropes at Sotil’s CBD business Lasa Extract, putting one foot in front of another while her home remains on shaky ground.

“I want the war to be over very soon because I would like all people who had to leave Ukraine to go back home, and that they would feel safe in our country,” Kavunenko said.

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