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Ukrainian refugees make stop in Minnesota while biking across the U.S. for their homeland

Ukrainian refugees cycling across US to raise money for their homeland stop in MN
Ukrainian refugees cycling across US to raise money for their homeland stop in MN 01:57

MINNEAPOLIS — Two Ukrainian refugees are pedaling with purpose. Friends, Ganna Bubnova and Oleksander Koroliuk, are cycling across the U.S. to raise money for the troops fighting the war in their homeland.

"I had a dream to go learn more about the United States — the culture, the real America," said Bubnova.

That dream started with dipping wheels in the Pacific Ocean in Los Angeles 64 days ago. Since then, the duo have biked 2,000 miles through mountains, snow and farmland to arrive in Minnesota. 

"[Minnesota] is green and it's very nice. I love the amount of rivers you have," Bubnova said.

With just their bikes and a couple of packs, they're traveling coast to coast with the mission of raising money for the Ukrainian army, as well as buying a new ambulance vehicle for the kids hospital in Kharkiv.

The two are Ukrainian refugees who still have family in war-torn areas.

Ganna Bubnova and Oleksander Koroliuk WCCO

"[Our family and friends] see the bombing from their window and a lot of Americans don't know about it and a lot of people don't know that the war is still going," said Bubnova.

This bike journey has opened their eyes to more generosity than they expected, with strangers helping them along the way.

"They're feeding us, they're putting us in a place to sleep, they're helping with our bikes, they're taking our bikes for maintenance," said Bubnova.

They're also surprised by how many Ukrainian communities exist throughout the country, especially in Minnesota.

The Ukrainian American Community Center in Northeast Minneapolis is storing their bikes during their stop. Minneapolis' well-known Ukrainian restaurant, Kramarczuk's, gave them bike jerseys for their journey, signed by the staff.

"This trip about people, this trip about kindness, this trip about love," said Koroliuk.

Their goal is to get to New York City on the Fourth of July. They have to bike over 1,200 miles to get there.

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