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Arizona native, Ukrainian wife escape war-torn country, hope to help refugees

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Posted at 3:08 PM, Mar 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-17 21:42:39-04

PHOENIX — An Arizona native has been able to safely escape Ukraine and seek safety in a nearby European country with his wife, who is from Ukraine.

Chris Cooke tells ABC15 that he moved to Ukraine a year ago to be with his wife in her home country. Cooke said they recently fled the war-torn area after nearly two weeks of staying in Dnipro.

“It was stressful to her because every day that we were in Dnipro and every evening there were air sirens going off as Russians were firing missiles over us towards Kyiv,” said Cooke.

Cooke and his wife were able to take a train into Poland before heading into Belgium where they are seeking refuge with a family friend for the next week.

The Arizona native tells us that he tried to get to the U.S. Embassy inside Belgium to see if his wife can seek asylum, “they weren’t letting anybody in without appointments and they gave us a card, which was basically just a run around of sending an email and leaving a voicemail for U.S. Embassy.”

Next week, Cooke and his wife have plans to head to Romania, where his wife’s family has escaped to, and he has plans to help refugees cross the border from Ukrania into Romania.

Cooke said it’s his way of helping do something while this war continues, “When there’s absolute, in my mind, absolute evil personified from Putin and there’s a way that I can assist, I feel like I can’t not do that.”