The owner of a Ukrainian bakery in Vancouver is now breathing a sigh of relief that his sister and nephew have arrived safely in Canada from their war-torn country.
“We were driving from the airport, and I was pinching myself to see if it was true,” Irina Carpenko told Global News.
“We haven’t seen each other in eight years.”
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Global News first spoke to Carpenko a few days after Russia launched its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, as he used his business to help raise funds for humanitarian aid.
At the time, he expressed growing concern about his family’s safety, and not without reason.
Her sister, Tetiana Roselach, told Global News she woke up on February 24 to the sound of a bomb blast in her Kyiv area.
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“The first bomb was not far from us, (my son) from Nikita’s school,” he said.
“We had about 15 minutes to pack our documents and basic things. We flew too far from Kiev and stayed there for a week thinking about where to go next. ”
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Roselach said she and her husband had to call everyone they knew to scrap enough petrol for the dangerous 20-hour journey to western Ukraine.
Karpenko had to persuade his sister to leave the country – a decision that was not taken lightly.
Rozlach’s husband, who cannot legally leave Ukraine because he is a man of war age, was left behind to work for a charity while his parents were out of concern for other relatives.
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The decision to leave was difficult to make, any hesitation melted away when landing in Canada on Monday.
Roselach said, “(Like) happy tears when I saw my sister, my nephew.
“I am just happy to be safe. Me and my kids – that’s the main reason we’re here to stay safe. My main goal was to rescue my child. I am very grateful. “
Roselach is now helping her sister in her business, Kozak Itari.
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He may soon flee the war and join others. Karpenko promised that a job would be waiting for any Ukrainian refugees who could go to Vancouver.
But even as Roselach settles in a new life in Canada, war is never far from her mind.
“It’s very difficult. Every day I scroll through my phone with all the news, see what happened the last day. I call my husband. I call my parents. Thank God they still have a connection,” she said.
“Because we have not had contact with our relatives in the Chernobyl area since March 5, so we do not know if they are still alive. We hope it’s very scary. “
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