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Russian couple sponsor 9 Ukrainian refugees in Marina

MARINA, Calif. (KION-TV)- As tension grows within Russia against the military mobilization in the war in Ukraine, where thousands are fleeing to avoid military service, the Central Coast was waving the flag in solidarity for the country and its people over the weekend.

Among them was a Russian couple with 9 Ukrainian refugees they have chosen to sponsor.

Marina Kisseleva and Dmitry Kisselev

Dmitry Kisselev and Marina Kisseleva have lived in Seaside for more than 30 years. They are immigrants from Russia, and in March, when the war started in Ukraine, they wanted to help in some way. And they decided to sponsor nine refugees.

Irada is married to Victor, and they have a 12-year-old daughter, Lolita, who has just started seventh grade at school. The family of three come from Odessa, Ukraine, and were in a Red Cross refugee camp in Spain waiting to come to Monterey.

One of Lolita's memories before coming was the paintings on the walls of the airport in immigration, and Victor tells how the guards responded to her happiness and how nice the experience was.

Irada did semi-permanent makeup, but she likes to study psychology and astrology in her spare time.

Victor was a trainer and master's boxer with over 10 years of teaching physical education. He also drove trucks in Europe before coming to the United States.

Oksana and Serhii are Buddhists from Poltava who wish they could deepen their practice, especially through meditation. Oksana has a university degree in law, but she loves yoga and speaking several languages. Serhii has a degree in electrical and mechanical engineering. He worked for many years in a factory.

Liubov and Artur are the youngest of the group at 18 and 23 years of age. They escaped from Melitopol through the Czech Republic.

Liubov has been finishing his senior year of college in the Ukraine that was taken over by the Russians while at the same time beginning his college career at Monterey Peninsula College.

Artur used to be a coffee barista but aspires to be a rapper and work in the music industry.

Alina is the only one who came alone from Kyiv. She has two university degrees, one in economics and the other in law. She worked for a construction company for many years but lost her job in the war.

The ninth refugee lives with Marina and Dmitry in Seaside. He came from Odessa through Bulgaria. He was a merchant seaman wanting to pursue his maritime career while learning English.

All of them are taking courses in English as a Second Language, ELA for its initials in English. Now the next step is to find them work.

"We are looking for mentors," says Dmitry, "People who can share their life experiences with them and train them."

These nine refugees seek the American dream and start a life in the United States as Dmitry and Marina did 30 years ago.

"The nine of them did different things before they got here," says Marina, "And I know they have a great opportunity to find that and rebuild what they left behind in their own country here."

If you want to help them, you can make a donation to their GoFund me campaign here.

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Melody Waintal

Melody Waintal is the Digital Content Director for and


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