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From Russia to Langley City: A Ukrainian couple’s story

Dmitry Lozinsky was in deep trouble.

He was sitting in an interrogation room at the Senkivka “three sisters” three-way border crossing where the boundaries of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine meet.

There was a portrait of Russian leader Vladimir Putin on the wall, looking down at him while a Russian border guard accused him of being a terrorist.

It was in February, the early days of the fighting, and he and his wife Karyna were trying to get her mother out of Ukraine and into Russian territory, where they lived.

They avoided the conflict and brought his mother-in-law out by driving through neighbouring Belarus to the “three sisters’ crossing, which was when the Russian guards took Dmitry’s phone and demanded his password before putting him in the interrogation room.

He was recounting his story in the kitchen of Sandy Leone, a Langley City resident who has given Dmitry and Karyna refuge.”

Dmitry, 22, was born in Ukraine, but his family moved to Russia when he was young, a fact noted on his Russian passport, something that earned him special attention at the “three sisters” crossing.

Katryna, 21, has a Ukrainian passport, but was able to live in Russia because she was married to Dmitry.

When his interrogator asked what Dmitry thought about the Russian military action, he chose his words carefully.

“I am a simple guy who does not want to get political,” Dmitry told the guard.

“You’re a liar,” the Russian thundered.

“You’re going to jail. You’re a terrorist, and an extremist, and you’re going to jail.”

He demanded to know why Lozinsky wasn’t serving in the Russian army and suggested he could end up in jail if he didn’t join up.  

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On the advice of a friend, Lozinsky had thoroughly scrubbed his phone of anything that could be used against him, like the fact he has a cousin in the Ukrainian army.

The fact the Russians couldn’t find anything suspicious is likely why they allowed him, Karyna and her mother, finally, to pass.

Dmitry wasn’t celebrating, thinking if he had to leave Russia to avoid military service, he would likely have just as much trouble getting into the Ukraine on his Russian passport.

“I’m like an alien,” he explained.

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