By Ren Clayton
“My city, which is Chuhuiv, is a really small town,” said Anna Hansen. “But it got bombarded from the first day of the war by Russians.”
Hansen met her husband in Minnesota, where she has lived for several years, but her mother, Valentyna Zinchenko, still lived and ran grocery stores near Kharkiv in Ukraine. When the war started, Zinchenko had to hide in a cellar for nine days.
“It was limited communication between me and my mom, during that time when she was living in the cellar, because it was underground,” Hansen said. “And they got bombarded pretty much all the time.”
It was Hansen’s mission to get her mother out of Ukraine, and then to Minnesota, and that’s where Sen. Amy Klobuchar came in. She spoke about Zinchenko’s journey.
“She is so much more fortunate than so many people right now who are not with family,” the Minnesota senator said.
Klobuchar’s office went through the U.S. embassy in Frankfurt, Germany, to gain approval for Zinchenko’s Visa petition.
“I think we’ve helped 100 people now with their cases, who they have someone they’re related to,” Klobuchar said.
On April 28, Zinchenko arrived safely to her new home.
“So happy,” Hansen said. “With everything that’s going on in Ukraine, it just felt so good.”
“She’s (found) that peace in her soul,” translated her mother’s word.
Zinchenko is on the path to citizenship because of her daughter. But with the Uniting for Ukraine program, any Minnesotan can sponsor a Ukrainian refugee who then receives a work permit. Klobuchar’s office asks that people interested reach out via this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Having people that are willing to come here and work is really positive for our state; with both the Ukrainian and Afghan refugees,” said Klobuchar.
The latest reunion was just in time for a mother to see her daughter’s college graduation.