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SAN YSIDRO — Emotional new video shows Ukrainians breathing a collective sigh of relief as they crossed the US border after fleeing the invasion of their homeland by Russian forces.

Footage from the scene at the San Ysidro Port of Entry on Monday show parents embracing their children and loved ones after successfully crossing the US-Mexico border.

Others are seen wiping their tears after having to make their way to the US without their spouses and sons.

One video taken at the site shows one Ukrainian man, Artem Matveichuk, opening up about fleeing the raging war with his wife Mila and their two children as they were finally able to experience “the smell of freedom.”

Matveichuk explained that the family escaped the horror of war and subsequent atrocities in their home city of Irpin, northwest of the capital city, Kyiv. Matveichuk recalled seeing “civilians laying on the ground everywhere” following continuous attacks from Russian forces.

A Ukrainian mother named Natalia, left, and her child, Victoria, 4, after entering the United States from Mexico.
A Ukrainian mother named Natalia and her child, Victoria, smile after entering the United States from Mexico.
James Keivom
A Ukrainian mother named Natalia, left, and her child, Victoria, 4, after entering the United States from Mexico.
The US will welcome 100,000 Ukrainian refugees displaced by the war.
James Keivom

“We appreciate being able to come here to this safe place, and we truly feel support for Ukrainians here and the American government. We appreciate this opportunity that we have here, and are just looking forward to a good place where we can stay safe and raise our kids,” he said in the video.

In another clip, Matveichuk opened up about his two sons, explaining that their youngest son, Eldar, has special needs which the war has made even more challenging to accommodate.

“When we came out of the line, some officials were standing there and I asked him what a good smell here, and he thought I was asking him about some restaurants nearby, but I said no, it’s the smell of freedom. We together laughed, but it’s true – we feel safe here and nothing compares with it,” Matveichuk added.

Ukrainian immigrants enter the United States from Mexico.
Families embrace at the US-Mexico border.
James Keivom
Ukrainian immigrants enter the United States from Mexico.
A Ukrainian woman wipes away tears after making it into the US.
James Keivom
Ukrainian immigrants enter the United States from Mexico.
Ukrainians joyfully greet their loved ones in the US.
James Keivom

Last week, tens of hundreds of refugees arrived in Texas after making their way from Ukraine to the Netherlands before flying to Mexico.

“They’ll drive [in] by taxi all the way up to the bridge, and they’ll say, ‘We’re pleading asylum,’” Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Laredo, Rebecca Solloa, said. “[Customs agents] will take them down from the car and move them forward.”

The shelter counts are unofficial and the true numbers of those crossing the border are probably higher than reported since many Ukrainian asylum-seekers bypass immigrant shelters completely when they arrive.

Dennis Voiniak, of Irvine, Calif, and his son, Ivan, 5, run to greet Voiniak’s sister, Maria.
Dennis Voiniak, of Irvine, California and his son, Ivan, run to greet Voiniak’s sister, Maria.
James Keivom
Maria Voiniak, of Kyiv, Ukraine, hugs her brother, Dennis Voiniak, of Irvine, Calif.
Maria Voiniak of Kyiv, Ukraine, hugs her brother, Dennis Voiniak.
James Keivom
Maria Voiniak, of Kyiv, Ukraine, greets her nephew, Ivan, 5.
Maria Voiniak greets her nephew, Ivan.
James Keivom

The Biden administration announced last month that it would welcome 100,000 Ukrainian refugees displaced by the war.

The Department of Homeland Security did not respond to requests by The Post for information on the number of Ukrainian refugees.

The Wall Street Journal reported last month that more than 10,000 Ukrainians had visited Mexico as tourists in the first two months of this year, and officials believe most of that number will eventually head to the US.

Source: NYPOST

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