How One Ukrainian Family Escapes to Poland Only After Being Smuggled Into the Country

Tags: Currents Family, Media, Polish, Polish Community, Ukraine, World News

Currents News Staff

Mila Turchyn does not trust the man she is about to meet. That’s because he’s a smuggler. 

She’s anxious looking for her mom and sister, hoping they arrived. She meets her sister Vita and a moment of brief joy occurs. 

But there’s no time to hug her mom because the smuggler wants to be paid now. It costs $500 U.S. Dollars for the pair, which is much more than most families can afford who are fleeing war. Getting to safety is dangerous. 

This is the story of one family’s escape into Russia after its troops bombed and occupied their city. They are from Izium, a city under siege. 

“Somebody saw that a missile actually hit my backyard and I was crying so much…” Mila said. “I don’t know maybe, they are dead already there.”

She finally got a call, but it wasn’t from Izium.

“I heard them for the first time after a whole month,” Mila said. “I was so torn. I was happy they are alive. But I was terrified they were in Russia. And I don’t know, should I be happy? Or should I be sad?”

Mila’s only option, she says, was to hire a smuggler to drive her family from Russia to safety here in Poland.

Now they’re reunited, but how did the victims of Putin’s war end up in Russia? Desperate to flee, they said they could only find one way out by a private driver offered a ride to the Russian border.

“They were more afraid to stay where they were because it was hell and they needed to go somewhere to escape that,” Mila said of her family.

Thousands of Ukrainians have faced the same. Many say they had no choice – it was go to Russia or die.

As of last week, Russian officials claimed that more than 674,000 Ukrainians have been relocated to Russia.