by Photo by Manuel Ocaño.

The Ukrainians fled the war 6,365 miles for 15 days and spent three more days just five miles from Chula Vista waiting to be allowed into the United States.

They felt exhausted, especially the children when Tijuana police officer Aarón Partida approached them to ask in English their nationalities.

"Ukrainians", "Russians", said the majority, although there was also a Colombian couple.

They are Ukrainians and Russians alike fleeing Putin's war and shared a Tijuana sidewalk for three days.

Officer Partida told them, "wait for me to come back in about five minutes," and went to speak with a Customs and Border Protection officer. He then came back and asked to see their passports.

A moment later, he led the group of eight Ukrainian adults and two children to the pedestrian entrance of the port of entry, where they only waited a moment for CBP officers to let them pass, each with their passports in hand.

Authorities interviewed them behind closed doors, and then they continued into the United States. A young Ukrainian-American woman went from Pasadena to Ukraine to rescue her sister and nieces. 

This is the procedure now followed by Ukrainians fleeing the Russian war who escape until they reach the gates of San Diego and Chula Vista.

Until last week, Ukrainian citizens entered San Ysidro without delay and left the port of entry without hesitation; this was the first group to wait a few days before passing through. The Russians, for their part, are still waiting.

Dmytro, a Ukrainian man, fought back the tears as he told Chula Vista Today that his father had to stay near Russia in Kharkiv in northern Ukraine. He said they communicate every day. He said that now that he is in the United States, he will find a way to help bring his father over.

Tijuana police don't know how many people from Ukraine and Russia have arrived at the port of entry to flee the war. 

CBP has not answered that same question to the press.

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