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An estimated 3,000 Ukrainians have resettled in Northeast Ohio since start of war

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Posted at 9:20 PM, Jan 03, 2023

SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio — Ten months ago, Russia began its major invasion of Ukraine, resulting in the deaths of thousands and the largest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.

Between the Uniting for Ukraine streamlined process with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and other avenues of resettlement, about 221,000 Ukrainians have been processed and arrived in the United States since March.

A spokesperson with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services said an additional 36,000 Ukrainians have been authorized to come to the United States but have not arrived yet.

According to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, more than 6,000 Ohioans have applied to be a sponsor to a Ukrainian.

Joe Cimperman, president of Global Cleveland, an organization dedicated to welcoming and integrating people from around the world into the area, said that between all the visa options and other avenues available it can be hard to track exactly how many Ukrainians now call Northeast Ohio home.

However he said his organization estimates about 3,000 Ukrainians have resettled in Northeast Ohio since the start of the war.

"We have more housing than we occupy," Cimperman explained. "We have more jobs than we have filled. We have more opportunities that are being realized. So if we open up a little bit and say, 'Come on, there's there's plenty of Northeast Ohio here for you. Enroll your kids in school. Look at your dream home. Start that company. Work that job.' We can accommodate that."

Among those is Nazar Pinkevych, who moved to Broadview Heights nine months ago with his wife and two children shortly after the war started.

News 5 caught up with Pinkevych as he worked on painting a home in Shaker Heights, one of his construction skills he first acquired in Ukraine.

"[It's] a little bit different, all the same but a little bit different," he said.

Pinkevych worked on the site with the help of his brother Igor Turansky and other Ukrainians who have resettled in Northeast Ohio.

"It feels right," Turansky said of working with his brother. "It's people you can trust. I say good."

The crew has already been applauded for their quality of work and was hired as part of a new build construction project with Keystate Homes, a company founded by first-generation immigrants.

"They’re trying to help [family back in Ukraine] and from what I understand a lot of the money they make they're trying to send back," Keystate Homes Business Development Director Andrew Gotlieb explained.

Turansky explained he first moved to the U.S. in 2015, and after securing his green card, he has since worked to help other Ukrainians easily acclimate to life in Northeast Ohio.

"No one supported me and stuff so you have to achieve everything by yourself," he recalled.

That said, both men described how their family back in Ukraine still struggles, even on the western part of the country.

"It's hard to watch to be honest," Turansky said. "My sister is over there, my dad is over there. I have a lot of family [there]. Right now, it's hard with electricity and stuff."

There’s no shortage on home construction or renovation projects for this group of contractors, which is exactly how Turansky wants it — all a part of his American dream.

However for Pinkevych, the skills he picks up here will hopefully help him rebuild the place he calls home.

"I plan (to go) back to Ukraine when war is done," he said.

For Cimperman at Global Cleveland, it's crucial moving forward that the community continue to welcome and aid this growing Ukrainian population.

"The native born population is not having kids the way that it used to," he said. "If we want to grow, we have to grow. What would be really helpful would be if we would let these people really live out the American dream that I know exists in terms of people finding a job, buying a house, getting their kids enrolled. The more people we welcome, the better we become."

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