Canadian mom and 2 kids flee Ukraine, land in Vancouver

At the first signs of an invasion, Anya Kholodnytaskaya and her family started packing up their lives in case they needed to flee.

Kholodnytaskaya, who’s a Canadian citizen, had moved to Ukraine with her Ukrainian husband to start a family in Vinnystsia about eight years ago, according to her friend Daria Terekhina.

She never imagined the violence of war would wipe out their idyllic life in the Ukrainian countryside.

“They caught the last train and they found out their city got bombed, so they made it out right on time,” said Terekhina, who lives in Metro Vancouver.

Terekhina had been communicating with her friend on Facebook messenger throughout the past month, aiming to help Kholodnytaskaya, her two boys and their dog make it Vancouver. Her husband de ella was not able to leave with them because the country banned men ages 18 to 60 from leaving.

“She keeps focusing on the kids because that’s her future; her kids are her future. She’s trying not to think about back home – not having a home, not knowing where her husband is,” Terekhina said.

Before the family made it to their destination, they found refuge in Budapest, Hungary, for several weeks until they could find a flight that could accommodate the family and large dog.

They had a flight booked, but on the morning it was scheduled to depart, Kholodnytaskaya tested positive for COVID-19 and was suffering from a fever and other symptoms.

Once they were all well and tested negative, they boarded their flight on March 25.

They are currently staying in Kholodnytaskaya’s mother’s one-bedroom apartment in North Vancouver.

Terekhina said since her friend is a Canadian citizen, she doesn’t qualify for any refugee supports. CTV News Vancouver has contacted Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada about this, but did not hear back by Sunday’s broadcast deadline.

To help the family get back on their feet, Terekhina started to GoFundMe page.

Terekhina said it was always the family’s plan to move back to Vancouver eventually, but not like this.

“It wasn’t meant to happen in this way where they lost their home, it’s been demolished and now they have to run for their lives without her husband,” she said.

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