After 40 days in a bomb shelter, two Ukrainian refugees and 17 dogs are ready to start a new life in Poland.
“This is not the end,” Viktor Zhdanov said as he helped his wife and mother-in-law move into their new home in a former brick factory in Bischofshofen, Germany, on Friday. The family of seven had stayed in a concrete shelter during Ukraine’s war with Russia.
Viktor Zhdanov, 40, helps his wife and mother-in-law with a suitcase at their new home in a former brick factory in Bischofshofen, Germany.
The refugee’s wife, Tatyana Shalamov, 41, and their 19 kids are starting a new life in a brick factory in Germany, and he is helping them do it.
“They have been in a house for three months, but they have to help each other for the living,” Zhdanov told NBC News in a phone interview.
The family’s story is a familiar one: In 2015, the family was in Russia when it happened. On March 26, an explosion killed all five family members who were in a car on their way to the Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, from the town of Odesa.
Ukrainians fleeing a war in their country — in 2015, when many were still in Ukraine — began to cross into Russia in an attempt to join family living in other parts of the country.
But the country became increasingly hard for them to cross. They were often targeted by Russian authorities, who would sometimes force them to remain in Russia and turn them over to local police for deportation.
Many never returned, but some made it, escaping with only a few belongings, and started new lives in countries whose governments were not so welcoming.
“It was very hard for us, because we were only able to bring 3 suitcases for the three children,” Zhdanov said.