Russian and Ukrainian refugees fled the war and came to Tijuana, Mexico, to tell their story, proving that love can endure even during wartime.
Their love story began more than three years ago when Semen Bobrovski, a Russian citizen, found Daria "Dasha" Sakhniuk when he crossed the border in Ukraine. Their plan was to marry in Kyiv, Ukraine, but the war turned their plans around.
"I'm very happy that I met some very nice people who could help us come together in this matrimony here in Mexico, in Tijuana," said Sakhniuk.
The couple told Telemundo 20 that they traveled thousands of miles to reach the U.S.-Mexico border. A trip that lasted six days, traveling in planes from country to country until reaching the refugee camp at the checkpoint in San Ysidro and later staying in a Benito Juárez hostel.
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On Wednesday they participated in a ceremony at the Civil Registry of Tijuana.
"A historic wedding," says lawyer Josué Plascencia, a lawyer and witness to the wedding.
"We are very happy because all these people helped us make this happen, we are full of joy and gratitude to the Mexican people for what they have done for us. This was very exciting," said Bobrovski.
For two weeks, Sakhniuk and Bobrovski arrived in Tijuana with the intention of entering the United States as war refugees, and according to the Tijuana city council, both resided in Ukraine before the war broke out, but had to flee.
"The problem that the couple faced when arriving at the San Ysidro checkpoint is that it only allows access to the United States through refugee status to Ukrainian or Russian citizens who can legally prove their relationship. For the Russian community, right now, there is no legal way to enter the United States, derived from this war conflict," the Tijuana city council said in a press release.
Sakhniuk not only celebrated her union with Bobrovski, but also her 27th birthday, with a traditional Mexican party including mariachi and a “taquiza” that they celebrated alongside the other refugees at the shelter.
"We as a ‘Tijuana Sin Hambre foundation’ being part of something so important made us very happy and we are very excited. We are very happy to be part of this great celebration we are convinced that love can cross wars. We realize that love during such a difficult time makes one not lose faith that we can move forward," said Maru Rique, of the Tijuana Foundation without hunger.
"We had planned it in Ukraine, but things happen for some reason, we didn't expect the war to happen, nobody expected that and that's why we feel very lucky and grateful to be here right now with these people around us," said Bobrobskii.
The couple was expected to cross into San Diego and subsequently travel to New York to begin their new life as husband and wife.
Requirements to get married in Tijuana
The authorities reported that the requirements to carry out the civil ceremony were:
- The passports of the parties translated into Spanish and certified by an expert
- birth certificates
- medical certificate and blood tests
This story was originally reported by NBC 7's sister station, Telemundo 20. To read the article, click here.