גלינה ורוקסלנה באוקראינה לפני המלחמה
Galina and Roxlana
Photo: Courtesy
Galina and Roxlana

Israeli mother fears for daughter stranded alone in Ukraine

Roxlana, 17, denied entry to the country despite both mother and sister residing in Israel; mother says she is left to fend for herself in ravaged Ukraine amid an escalating war with Russia

Hadar Gil-Ad |
Published: 03.21.22, 11:20
Galina Sabrouk has not slept since the Russian forces invaded Ukraine last month, fearing for her 17-year-old daughter, who is currently stranded in the war-torn country all alone.
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  • "She calls me crying in the middle of the night with missile alerts blaring in the background, I do not know what to do," Galina says.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    גלינה ורוקסלנה באוקראינה לפני המלחמה
    גלינה ורוקסלנה באוקראינה לפני המלחמה
    Galina and Roxlana
    (Photo: Courtesy)
    Israeli authorities refused the family's request to allow Roxlana to enter the country because earlier requests she had filed were refused despite her mother and sister residing here for the past four years with Sergei, Galina's husband, who is Israeli.
    According to Galina, the family members entrusted with her daughter’s care all fled Ukraine shortly after the invasion began, effectively leaving Roxlana to fend for herself.
    "Everyone ran away and left her all alone… She cries to me on the phone everyday… I am very worried about her, it is hard for me to explain just how much,” Galina, who is also busy caring for her newborn child, says.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    קייב מחלצים עובדים ב אתר ש הופצץ מרכז קניות משבר מלחמה רוסיה אוקראינה
    קייב מחלצים עובדים ב אתר ש הופצץ מרכז קניות משבר מלחמה רוסיה אוקראינה
    The aftermath of a Russian shelling in Kyiv
    (Photo: Reuters)
    The distraught mother says the Population and Immigration Authority refused her request to allow Roxlana to stay in Israel until the end of the war.
    “I'm afraid something will happen to her, she's a girl and she's alone there. I do not understand, I am in Israel legally. Why not let her come be with me. We're willing to do anything to get her here. She will leave here as soon as the war is over.”
    According to Roxlana herself, the humanitarian situation in Ternopil, where she lives, is deteriorating rapidly, and people still left in the city are becoming more and more desperate by the hour.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    גנילה והתינוקת מדברת עם רוקסלנה שבאוקראינה
    גנילה והתינוקת מדברת עם רוקסלנה שבאוקראינה
    Galina talking with Roxlana via video call
    (Photo: Courtesy)
    "I sleep in the shelter. There are alarms here all day, it's very scary," Roxana says. "I'm alone here. Recently I was in a food store and the shelves were empty. All I want is to be with my mother, to be in a safe place with my family,” she says.
    Assaf Bardugo, the lawyer accompanying the family, said it is difficult to understand the stubborn refusal of the state authorities. "Roxana is a 17-year-old minor, whose entire family is in Israel. She is being refused because in the past she applied for a status that was denied due to non-compliance with procedures,” he says.
    “The Interior Ministry refuses to deal with any issue pertaining to Ukraine and the Foreign Affairs Ministry refuses to deal with those whose entry has been denied in the past," he says. "Therefore it is not possible to appeal to the appropriate body as there is no official decision to appeal,” he adds.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    תושבים מקבלים אספקת מזון ומים בפאתי מיופול
    תושבים מקבלים אספקת מזון ומים בפאתי מיופול
    People collecting water and food in the city of Mariupol
    (Photo: AP)
    "The State of Israel should also allow the entry of those who have been denied in the past, subject to appropriate financial guarantees, especially when it comes to sensitive cases such as a minor who is alone in a war-torn country while all her family members are in Israel," he says.
    The Population and Immigration Authority said Roxana's biological father must permit exclusive custody to her mother in order for her to be allowed entry. "This is a foreign minor who previously tried to enter Israel and was denied entry. So far, the required documents have not been presented, although the mother was asked for the documents back in 2019,” the authority said in response to Ynet's query.


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