FLIGHT TO SAFETY: 28 Ukrainian refugees united with Canadian relatives

“I could not believe it. I honestly couldn’t believe that people could help us so much”: Olha Koval, refugee

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An aid flight linked 28 Ukrainian refugees with relatives in Canada on Sunday on a private flight that landed in Pearson organized by a religious group.

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“We are at a new beginning in Canada,” Olha Koval said minutes after the flight landed and her family cleared customs. “We plan to work here because we will stay for maybe a year or two or three. It depends on the situation in Ukraine.”

Koval arrived with her husband, Roman, and their three children, Oleh, 11, Taras, 7, and Yurii, 3.

The first Sunday flight of refugees from Samaritan’s Purse Canada, a Christian aid group, has been months in the making.

The organization has dispatched 13 flights carrying more than 300 tons of relief supplies to Ukraine and neighboring countries.

“We had all these people from Ukraine who had approvals to come to Canada who were in Poland but just couldn’t pay or had no way to get here,” Frank King said before assisting the new arrivals once they disembarked.

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“We thought, let’s make this a round trip relief trip and bring all these people back to Canada so they can connect with their families.”

Nataliya Sobetca was on board and is eight months pregnant.

Nataliya Sobetca, who is eight months pregnant and part of a group fleeing war in Ukraine, receives a check-up from volunteer nurses Kim Wiebe (top) and Marcella Veenman-Mulder, after arriving at a terminal in the Toronto Pearson Airport on a plane from Poland, operated by Samaritan's Purse Canada on Sunday, May 15, 2022. ERNEST DOROSZUK/TORONTO SUN
Nataliya Sobetca, who is eight months pregnant and part of a group fleeing war in Ukraine, receives a check-up from volunteer nurses Kim Wiebe (top) and Marcella Veenman-Mulder, after arriving at a terminal in the Toronto Pearson Airport on a plane from Poland, operated by Samaritan’s Purse Canada on Sunday, May 15, 2022. ERNEST DOROSZUK/TORONTO SUN

She arrived with her 11-year-old son and her husband.

“It is a great mercy. It was really hard to organize everything,” he said of the trip from Ukraine to Poland and then to Canada.

“When we were trying to organize tickets from Warsaw, Poland. It was always full. I am very grateful”

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Sobetca was examined by two nurses from the support group, who had recently returned from four weeks in the Ukraine.

“What we ended up seeing was a lot of chronic conditions exacerbated by war,” said Marcella Veenman-Mulder. “We’re also starting to see a lot of psychological trauma.”

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Kim Wiebe also spent a month in the war-torn country.

Roman and Olha Koval, and their three children, Oleh, 11, Taras, 7, and Yurii, 3, are among a group of people fleeing war from Ukraine who arrive at a terminal at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on a plane from Poland.  operated by Samaritan's Purse Canada on Sunday, May 15, 2022. ERNEST DOROSZUK/TORONTO SUN
Roman and Olha Koval, and their three children, Oleh, 11, Taras, 7, and Yurii, 3, are among a group of people fleeing war from Ukraine who arrive at a terminal at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on a plane from Poland. operated by Samaritan’s Purse Canada on Sunday, May 15, 2022. ERNEST DOROSZUK/TORONTO SUN

“It wasn’t too dramatic. There are no bombs falling on our heads. It was more that we need to treat someone’s high blood pressure, or someone has an injury or illness and we would just help them,” she said.

Your organization’s help has opened the door for 28 refugees who were having difficulty finding a flight.

But a flight finally found them.

“When they told us, it was very surprising to us. And we are very grateful for this help. It’s amazing, the organization and support was great. Thank you,” Koval said.

“I could not believe it. I honestly couldn’t believe that people could help us so much.”

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