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Cleveland man shares story of cousin and her two small children crossing the Ukrainian border into Poland

More than 1 million residents have left the country since Russian invasion began
Published: Mar. 4, 2022 at 7:06 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - More than 1 million Ukrainians have left their homeland as war with Russia continues - most of them women and children.

Cleveland resident Bohdan Milan’s cousin and her two children crossed the border into Poland on Friday and said it has been a challenge for many Ukrainians seeking safety.

“The normal crossing of the border it takes about four days to cross at a time,” Milan said. “Due to the fact that she had somebody with a Polish passport and can help her out to cross it expedited her crossing the border.”

Like many Ukrainians, Milan’s cousin is hoping to serve her country during this fight.

First, she is making sure her children are safe.

“Her intentions were to leave the children with the family in Poland and return to fight where her sister is in the armed forces and volunteer organization,” Milan said.

For now, most Ukrainians are seeking refuge in nearby countries, such as Poland, Hungary, and Romania, hoping they can return to their homeland.

Milan’s cousin doesn’t know if she’ll come to the United States as the crisis continues.

“At the present time, there is no decision on what they can seek in the United States,” Milan said.

Global Cleveland is working with several agencies to prepare for refugees to come to Northeast Ohio.

The organization’s president, Joe Cimperman, said they have already had dozens of Ukrainian refugees reach out for help.

“What we have done here has activated our legal community,” Cimperman said. “Also told people that if people start to come here we’re going to need to figure out ways to house them, to make sure that people have food, make sure that people know they are welcome. So, right now we’re waiting for the department of state to determine what the refugee status is if there will be a fast lane opened for people fleeing Ukraine.”

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