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Ukrainian couple settles in Cromwell with host mom after fleeing from war

Semen Bobrovskii and Dasha Sakhniuk fled Ukraine in February after the war started and are settling in Cromwell with their host mom after arriving in April.

CROMWELL, Conn. — Semen Bobrovskii and Dasha Sakhniuk landed at Bradley International Airport in April after fleeing from Ukraine after Russia invaded earlier this year.

They left Ukraine, of which Sakhniuk is a native, in February and ended up just over the U.S.-Mexico border near Tijuana. That's where they met Hartford immigration attorney Dana Bucin, who helped the couple find a home in Connecticut.

That home in Cromwell is where the newlyweds have been staying since arriving.

RELATED: Meriden firefighter collecting equipment to send to home country of Ukraine

Janet Argenta opened her doors to the two.

"I had bedrooms, and a bathroom and a place in my home and a place in my life where I could help them during the war," she said. "I wanted to do something for people leaving the country."

With no ties to Ukraine, she reached out to local churches to see if she could help. She got a call the day before the couple arrived.

Credit: FOX61
'Ukraine' candle inside the Cromwell home where a newlywed couple is staying after fleeing the war.

Bobrovskii, who's from Russia, said it's been great living in America.

The day FOX61 interviewed the couple, Ukraine was heavily bombed killing more than a dozen people. His wife wasn't able to speak with us.

"Although we’re here for three months, she still feels very, she feels a very strong bond with Ukraine," Bobrovskii said. "She feels like she fled from her country when it needed her."

The war has gone on for more than a third of a year. Bobrovskii, who lived in Ukraine for four years after leaving Russia because of political views, said it's hard for him to see his home country attack another.

"It feels bad inside that your country gets into this kind of conflict when we’re living in the 21st century," he said.

He said the support from America is strong and feels like other European countries are not as active. He believes the Russian people are misled about the war by their government. If the war doesn't stop, he worries it could extend beyond Ukraine.

Sakhniuk's mom and grandparents are still in the country. Bobrovskii said people are getting used to the war in Ukraine and are getting tired of it. He said no one expected it to last this long.

"It really feels disgusting when you think about this," he said.

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The couple has found happiness through new friendships in Connecticut. They've been able to explore different communities and states in New England.

Bobrovskii said America is very different from where he was living prior.

"People are very attached to their cars," he said. "People are very, very concerned about lots of things we are not thinking in Ukraine because we are more about surviving and stuff. People here are more about human rights."

The couple is in the U.S. on humanitarian parole. They are still going through the process to get work permits. They can't drive a car.

Bobrovskii said they would like to be independent and to help on their own. Because of the difficulties they still face, he said their stay hasn't been as comfortable as they would like it to be.

While the couple has physically left Ukraine, they have not forgotten about the people there. They've been helping raise money and holding events to fundraise for the country. Bobrovskii said he feels as if it's an obligation to do so.

"It’s up to every single person, I think, to defend the one who’s being attacked," he said.

Argenta said it's been "wonderful" having the two share her home with her. She has two children already grown and living elsewhere and has basically adopted two more. She said some of the best times have been making meals together.

Credit: Semen Bobrovskii
Semen Bobrovskii and Dasha Sakhniuk have been staying with Janet Argenta in her Cromwell home since fleeing the war in Ukraine.

"It’s bad circumstances. It’s really tough to see what they’re going through, what their families are going through, but they’re wonderful," she said. "I love them and I had no idea that that would come to fruition. I just thought I would take care of people in my home but they’ve become family."

As the war continues, it's easier for her to communicate with Bobrovskii about how he's feeling. Sakhniuk is still learning English. Argenta said it's sad to see her cope on her own, but she's glad they're safe.

Sakhniuk and Bobrovskii, who got married while in Mexico, will be taking their honeymoon in Maine thanks to a family allowing them to use their home.

RELATED: Wethersfield High School students host Cabaret for Ukraine

Bobrovskii said he wants to use the time to get away from everything going on in their life and just be together.

Credit: Semen Bobrovskii
Semen Bobrovskii and Dasha Sakhniuk got married in Mexico after fleeing from Ukraine once the war started.

As for what's next for their home country and if they'll return, he said he would like to become a citizen. He worked as a hearing aid specialist and Sakhniuk was an office manager at a dentist's office.

He said they've only met good people since arriving here which has proved to him there's not a total loss for humanity.

Tony Black is a multi-media journalist at FOX61 News. He can be reached at ablack@fox61.com. Follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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