Ukrainian refugees

Ukrainian Refugees Arrive in Connecticut

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Ukrainian refugees are now making their way to the U.S. and to Connecticut. The safe landing comes nearly two months since Ukraine was invaded by Russian military forces.

Simon Bobrovskii and his wife left their home, as it was their only option after missiles began landing near their home.

Bobrovskii is Russian and his wife is Ukrainian and they made a life in her home country. But once the Russian invasion started, they knew the time had come to leave.

"We heard sirens, we heard explosions," said Bobrovskii. "I felt horrible inside, I felt like I may lose my life because of people from my country."

The couple fled from Kyiv on March 26 and during the last few weeks, they've had several stops along the way. We're talking Tijuana, Minnesota to now Connecticut.

"It feels so good to be here and we both feel safe now," said Bobrovskii.

The couple escaped to the western part of Ukraine and spent $2,400 to fly into Mexico. It was in Mexico where they were able to receive food, shelter and immigration advice.

"It's just through Mexico, through the Tijuana/San Diego border checkpoint that the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol had established a streamline procedure for Ukrainians only," said Dana Bucin, the immigration attorney for the couple.

It was a long journey for three Ukrainian refugees who escaped their home and the terror taking place in Ukraine.

Bucin, who is also the Honorary Consul of Romania to Connecticut, along with Connecticut faith leaders and church sponsors, devised a plan to get the couple to the Nutmeg State.

"The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol only process Ukrainians for humanitarian parole not asylum which is a very important difference because the minute you invoke asylum, as a Ukrainian at the border, you’re going to be placed in a special type of track of procedure that is not as favorable as humanitarian parole," said Bucin.

"They have an entire volunteer-led operation, vans are picking people up from the airport, taking Ukrainians directly at the Hub, which is on the Mexican side in Tijuana, that’s where they get shelter, they get food, they get legal advice, they get a lot of other services," she continued.

Father Andrii from St. Mary's Ukrainian Orthodox Church in New Britain is one of the people helping Ukrainian refugees.

Now that the newlyweds are in the state, they're looking forward to a new life after leaving what they consider a devastating situation.

“This is a tragic for everyone, for the Ukrainian, for the Russian people who are fleeing from the regime,” said Bobrovskii. "Right now, it feels really safe, we’ve got a lot of support from people.”

The couple's attorney tells NBC Connecticut that they'll will be staying with church sponsors and she will be working with them to get them to file the right legal paper work to work within the U.S.

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