EPHRATA, Pa. — Mikail Chekh and his young family remember hearing fighter jets and bombs outside their window.
The family lived right outside Mariupol—where the Russian invasion and fighting began.
Chekh can remember the house shaking, the bombs sounding like 10,000 fireworks going off at once. He said that vibrations from the explosions rang through their home in all directions.
Chekh and his family knew that they had to escape. Due to road closures and blockades, they had to make a 4,200 mile exodus by car.
First, they had to go through Russia, then north through Latvia. After that, they set off west toward Poland, before finally arriving in Germany.
Even when farther away from the fighting, Chekh always thought that the war would catch up to them.
While spending two months in Germany, Chekh said they met their relative Constantine Resnik, who is a pastor at Bethany Slavic Church in Ephrata. Resnik suggested Chekh and his family apply and go through the United With Ukraine program to find refuge in the United States. Chekh said that the church will help sponsor his family and assist with rent.
Chekh hopes to receive a work permit and get his three children educated in Lancaster County. This opportunity was not available back home during the fighting.