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Valley woman's Ukrainian fiancé lands in Phoenix after lengthy ICE detainment

Posted at 4:26 AM, Apr 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-06 07:30:49-04

PHOENIX — He was escaping war only to be detained while trying to get to Arizona. Weeks later, a Ukrainian man is ready to be back in the arms of his fiancée.

Mykhailo Pikovets was set to arrive Tuesday evening at Sky Harbor International Airport. His fiancée, eagerly awaiting bringing to a close what's become a whirlwind few weeks for the couple.

"I couldn't fall asleep last night until probably 2 o'clock in the morning,” said Olesya Balzhyk.

Balzhyk was emotional then and she is emotional now.

"I'm very happy, but I am tired at the same time. This day has finally come. I don't know if I can fully believe that,” added Balzhyk.

ABC15 reported last week Balzhyk’s fiancé began planning his journey from Ukraine to the U.S. She says he made his way to Mexico in February, but was reportedly detained by ICE right near the border. He was held in Louisiana until Tuesday.

Valley Ukrainian's fiance detained by ICE

A local immigration attorney weighed in on the case.

"It's really complicated in that district. Had it been in Arizona, he would have probably been out the next day,” said Sheree Wright of IBF Law Group.

Aside from reaching out to ABC15, Balzhyk also leaned on Senator Kyrsten Sinema. The senator's office confirmed last week its casework team had reached out to ICE for answers.

"It is hard to get in contact with a deportation officer there. I represent a couple of clients down there,” added Wright. "You have to be consistent because the deportation officers there don't answer. It's just a different world."

But, just six days after our story, Balzhyk got a call from her fiancé — letting her know he was on the plane headed to Phoenix.

"He told me, 'I feel closer to you'. This is what he told me. He called from someone else's phone. He said, 'I feel closer to you right now,'” added Balzhyk.

ABC15 has reached out to ICE, once again, for comment. We have yet to hear back.