Cuban American helped get his wife's family out of Ukraine 'between bombs and shots on the road'


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Hamlet Garcia, a Cuban American school choice advocate whose wife is from Ukraine, opened up about the struggle to get his wife’s cousins to safety amid Russia’s invasion.

The women and their children escaped Ukraine through Poland and reached safety in a country near Poland, Garcia announced on Twitter Sunday. The children’s fathers remained in Ukraine to fight.


“They are my wife’s cousins, ​​but they grew up in the same house as sisters,” Garcia told Fox News Digital. “My wife came to the United States when she was 9 years old, but they never lost communication. My wife and I have been married for 23 years and during all this time we always share with them via telephone, letters, and with the arrival of video messages, we saw them growing up, marrying, and having those beautiful children in the photos”

“It was not easy at all to be able to get them out between bombs and shots on the road and to be able to take them to Poland and put them on that ship and take it to a safer neighboring country,” Garcia added. “I do not want to give the name of the country, because, as you know, Russian President Vladimir Putin has followers all over the world.”

Garcia shared a photo of an apartment building in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv where Alisa Rogovenko, one of his wife’s cousins, had an apartment. The building had been damaged by Russian missiles. “She never lived in it, but she was about to move in when the war started,” he said.

“After the war started, they were living in a cold basement without heating, and they heard missiles flying over them,” Garcia added.

Garcia said he did not travel to Ukraine himself, but he used a contact there to help get the families to safety. He told Fox News Digital that he will visit the families soon in the safe country.

Garcia gained nationwide notoriety after he pled guilty in Dec. 2016 to a summary offense of knowingly and illegally enrolling his daughter in a school outside the school district in which they lived. He was ordered to pay more than $10,000 in restitution. 


Garcia, 42, his wife Olesia, 34, and Olesia’s father, Grigori Sofitchouk, 54, appeared before a Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, court on charges of theft of services for sending their daughter to school in the county, when they were residing in neighboring Philadelphia County. 


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