How One Ukrainian Refugee Family Landed in Los Angeles

The airport is quickly becoming a hotspot for both Ukrainians and Russians fleeing the war
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The war in Ukraine has created about 500,000 Ukrainian refugees. One family—a married couple with two young children—has found their way to safety in LA, KTLA reports.

Until recently, Selbin and Olena Pacho lived in Kharkhiv, the second largest city in Ukraine, with their children, ages 7 months and 3 years. Their unease began a few weeks ago due to news of potential strife. Their relatives and friends, however, brushed off their concerns, citing fake news.

The Polish embassy, however, took them seriously, saying “Get out right now. Move, move.”

It was a whirlwind from there, a hurry-up-and-wait of procuring passports, a 12-hour train into Poland, a days-long holdup at the border, and eventually, their final destination of LAX. The airport is quickly becoming a hotspot for both Ukrainians and Russians fleeing the war, says KTLA.

By the time they made it to the land of palm trees, the war the brought on by Russia had begun.

Now, the family is safely ensconced in their temporary home: Selbin’s sister’s place in Van Nuys. They worry about friends and family left behind. “My mom is there, my sister, and my friends,” said Olena. 

The fruitlessness of war became visible when Selbin explained that their city of Kharhiv was a border town, abuting Russia. Most people had family on both sides, he said.

“There’s no animosity between Russian people and Ukrainian people,” he said.


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