San Diego

Couple Escapes Ukraine, Makes it to San Diego After Difficult Journey

After spending time together in Ukraine, John, an American, traveled from Ukraine to Poland days before the war with Russia intensified. Kristina, his Ukrainian fiancé followed a few days later

NBC Universal, Inc.

On Thursday, a Ukrainian woman was granted asylum at the San Ysidro Port of Entry after traveling from Ukraine with her American fiancé.

After spending time together in Ukraine, John traveled from Ukraine to Poland and Kristina followed a few days later, as the war with Russia intensified.

Kristina told NBC 7, she knew it was time to leave when she awoke one morning to the sounds of bombs exploding. They both chose to withhold their last names for security purposes.

From Poland, they then traveled to Paris, eventually to Mexico City, and lastly, to Tijuana.

John was able to cross through, as an American. But it would take Kristina, a Ukrainian, two tries to make it into the U.S. where John was waiting for her outside the San Ysidro Pedestrian exit.

“We flew from Mexico City to Tijuana. So then we came to the busiest border crossing ever. This is both of our first times in Mexico. Both of our first times to San Diego. It’s been an incredible journey. It’s been a wild ride, but we made it,” said John.

Kristina told NBC 7, her family is still in Ukraine, including her brother who is fighting Russian forces.

“I don’t know what to say. I really still don’t believe it. Thank you for everything. Thank you, America. Thank you, my future husband. Thank you God for everything,” said Kristina.

As many immigrants seeking asylum have been turned away under Title 42, it’s unclear what the border policy is for those asking for protection from violence and war.

NBC 7 reached out to the Department of Homeland Security regarding the specific policy that pertains to those attempting to cross but has not heard back.

“We want to thank border patrol for being so kind to us today and we want to thank the United States government for understanding the situation and welcoming refugees,” said Kristina.

Their next destination is South Carolina, where John's family is waiting for them.

“[His] mother, father, they just believe in us so much. They just support us so much,” said Kristina.

But first, before leaving for South Carolina, they will take some time to unwind.

“This has been an insane journey very scary, but we made it and I knew we would," said John. "It’s St. Patty's Day. We are gonna celebrate a little bit. Then we are gonna go home."

Contact Us