Saskatoon welcomed 230 Ukrainian refugees to the city Wednesday on the province’s fourth humanitarian flight.
3,000 Ukrainian refugees have now arrived in the province since the war began, but this is the first flight to land in Saskatoon.
The flight landed Nov. 23 around 3:50 p.m. at Saskatoon’s John G. Diefenbaker International Airport. Legislative Secretary Responsible for Saskatchewan-Ukraine Relations Terry Dennis, as well as Legislative Secretary Responsible for Immigration and Career Training Terry Jenson, were at the airport to welcome the newcomers.
“All hands are on deck as the Government of Saskatchewan works with settlement organizations and community partners to receive over 200 additional Ukrainians in Saskatoon later today,” said Dennis.
“Thanks to coordinated efforts between the Government of Saskatchewan, Solitaire, and Open Arms, Saskatchewan is now home to approximately 3, 000 displaced Ukrainians. We will continue to support Ukraine and its people for as long as needed.”
“Saskatchewan has seen a tremendous response to the fourth application window, with all 230 seats on the fourth flight filled in under four days,” Minister of Immigration and Career Training Jeremy Harrison said in a previous press release.
“The Government of Saskatchewan is ready for the next wave of Ukrainian families with many supports in place for their upcoming arrival. Saskatchewan will continue to support Ukraine and its people for as long as needed.”
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Global News spoke to an anonymous Ukrainian man at the airport who was holding a bouquet of roses. He was awaiting the arrival of his wife on the flight after being separated for over a year.
“I’ve been in Canada more than one year, and the last time seeing my wife was in Ukraine. Now we will be together live in Saskatoon,” said the man emotionally. “I’m happy. It was really a long time, and I left my family.”
“It feels good that we can do it, but it feels very bad that we have to,” said Enrique Bineyro, pilot for the humanitarian flights.
Bineyro has completed all of the current Ukraine humanitarian flights, as well as roughly 20 other flights throughout the world, transporting refugees from places like North Africa and Afghanistan.
“Canadian hospitality is legendary,” said Bineyro. “I was really impressed on how well people are received in Canada. It was really moving because I’m used to other things.”
He said that by bringing in numerous flights of refugees, Canada is setting an example for the world.
This is the fourth of five humanitarian flights planned to assist Ukraine in Saskatchewan.