Long Beach family opens home to Ukrainian couple and 2 young daughters seeking new life in US

Jory Rand Image
ByJory Rand via KABC logo
Wednesday, August 24, 2022
EMBED <>More Videos

A Long Beach family has opened their home to a Ukrainian couple and their two young daughters after they were displaced as Russia's war on Ukraine drags on.

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- A Long Beach family has opened their home to a Ukrainian couple and their two young daughters after they were displaced as Russia's war drags on.

Matthew Maehara and his wife Allie Brown are hosting the family for the next couple of months.

They said the family of four fled Ukraine and are looking to start a new life in the United States.

"It was air alarm all the time and the children were very scared pretty much so," said 37-year-old Inna Martynchuk of her family's escape.

The Ukrainian mother and former ballerina had a friend in America who had been watching Russia's merciless attacks on her homeland and wanted to help.

"I couldn't talk without crying," said Maria Kobylianska, Inna's friend who lives in Dana Point. "I could not talk to my colleagues at work and they were just like, 'OK, take your time.' It was horrible."

Now, Kobylianska is helping the family relocate - which meant getting in contact with Maehara and Brown.

"We had the extra space and we wanted to be able to help a family in need," said Maehara.

According to a GoFundMe created by Maehara, Inna's husband - 42-year-old Roman Martynchuk - is a musician, artist and teacher with an impressive career creating art throughout Europe.

He's currently seeking work in Los Angeles. Inna is hoping to find a job working in the IT industry.

Their daughters, ages 8 and 11, are both set to start school soon.

The Ukrainian family doesn't speak a lot of English, but are eager to work.

The couple had a stable and successful life in Ukraine before they were forced to escape, but Russia's invasion has changed and taken a lot of innocent lives.

"For them to go from that to just nothing, to coming to the U.S. with one suitcase, it was I can't even imagine," said Maehara.

Now, as they put down roots in their new home, the most important thing is that they've left the war behind.

"Here like ... new world, new life," said Inna. "Because the children are happy, they are not scared, and we're happy too."

Six months after Russia invaded, the war has slowed to a grind, as both sides trade combat strikes and small advances in the east and south. Both sides have seen thousands of troops killed and injured, as Russia's bombardment of cities has killed countless innocent civilians.

There are fears that Russia will intensify attacks on civilian infrastructure and government facilities in the coming days because of the holiday celebrating Ukraine's 1991 declaration of independence from the Soviet Union and the six-month anniversary of the invasion.

If you're interested in donating to the family's GoFundMe, click here.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.