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2022 Lawton, Oklahoma Chautauqua June 21 - 25

7 Ukrainian refugees are taken in by a Russian immigrant in Germany

People who fled the war in Ukraine wait to be called to board a humanitarian train to relocate them to Berlin on Sunday in Krakow, Poland.
Omar Marques
/
Getty Images
People who fled the war in Ukraine wait to be called to board a humanitarian train to relocate them to Berlin on Sunday in Krakow, Poland.

Three women and four kids who fled Russia's war on Ukraine have a new temporary home in Germany after a Russian immigrant offered them space in his small apartment.

The seven refugees spent five days trekking from Uman in central Ukraine to Poland and then to Aschaffenburg in Bavaria, where Ilya Lyalkov, 30, opened his home to them, according to public broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk. He has lived in Germany for 18 years.

Lyalkov's apartment is only 40 square meters — about 430 square feet. But he agreed to host the Ukrainians soon after Russia's invasion began at the request of his mother, who is acquainted with one of the women, the news outlet reports. He's been helping them fill out applications for government aid, a process that could end with their finding new housing.

In addition to squeezing seven people into his apartment, Lyalkov made another change: He took down a Russian flag that had been hanging in his living room. It's been replaced by a smaller Ukrainian flag, with the word FRIEDEN — "peace" — written on it.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.