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Search ends for missing Ukrainian man in Vancouver, but family says 23-year-old still needs help

Oleksandr Makhniuk is seen in this photo from the Facebook group set up to help find him. (Oleksandr Makhniuk Search/Facebook) Oleksandr Makhniuk is seen in this photo from the Facebook group set up to help find him. (Oleksandr Makhniuk Search/Facebook)

A Ukrainian man who recently relocated to Vancouver has been found safe, his family confirmed, ending a days-long search that garnered the support of dozens of strangers.

Oleksandr Makhniuk’s friends and family hadn’t heard from the 23-year-old since Friday, and were worried he was in depressive, disoriented state.

After issuing a public plea for help over Facebook on Saturday, his sister announced Tuesday the search for Makhniuk was over.

“My brother is alive and safe! With tears in my eyes and a prayer in my heart I write these words. Me and my parents thank you very much to everyone who responded to our appeal, searched and helped find my brother, fed him, warmed with their kindness,” Olga Makhniuk wrote on Facebook.

She says her brother, who also goes by Sasha, first arrived in Vancouver on April 8, but hasn’t been able to secure a job or permanent housing, and she believes he may have stopped communicating with his loved ones out of shame.

Another Ukrainian refugee living in Vancouver, Natalia Mejia, launched the local search and online group, which amassed 144 followers in a single day.

Mejia was co-ordinating with Makhniuk’s sister, who resettled in Seattle and can’t leave the U.S. due to terms of the refugee program.

Speaking to CTV News Vancouver on Tuesday, Mejia acknowledged that Makhniuk was not in a good place, mentally, after escaping the war in Ukraine.

“He was a witness of bombs, missile attacks, shootings—this impacts his overall condition,” Mejia said.

While the search is over, and Makniuk is able to stay in a hotel room until Saturday, his family is still accepting help from locals.

“He is still depressed. Lost a backpack with all his belongings, shoes, as well as glasses during his stay on the street. He has a severe inflammation of an injured toe,” his sister wrote online. “There is no way for me and my parents to come to Canada at the moment. And Sasha has not yet been able to do many simple things himself, including going to the bank and opening an account, applying for social assistance from the government and the Province, asking others for help,” she continued.

Anyone who is interested in helping the Makniuk can reach out to his sister on the Facebook group. Top Stories


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