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Billings resident welcomes Ukrainian son to the United States



Billings, Montana – An ex-Ukrainian residing in Billings has such a love for the nation that he has assisted family members in immigrating.

39 years ago, Yuri Abramov fled the Soviet Union and arrived in the United States.

He moved to Montana in 1994 and obtained citizenship while residing in Great Falls.

In 2016, he relocated to Billings.

And he might have experienced his biggest day ever last month.

“I remember when brother came, I started to cry,” Abramov said, while his friends assured him he was doing great.

On June 24, Yuri Abramov, Sr. greeted Yuri, Jr. at Billings Logan International Airport.

“Thirty-eight years we didn’t see each other,” Yuri, Sr. said. “And now we united. Now family. Father and son.”

“It’s been a long road for a Yuri, Jr.

He fled the Ukraine shortly after the war began, traveling across Europe to Mexico before arriving in Billings, leaving behind everything he owned.

“I said, please leave everything right there,” Yuri, Sr. told his son. “We need to save your life because Ukraine and Russia in that war. Is 100% chance to die. So for me like father, number one, I want to save my son’s life.”

“Here in the United States, the family’s friends including members of First Congregational Church greeted Yuri, Jr.

“We’ve been praying with Yuri since we first found out that his son mwas coming, so it’s been a journey for all of us,” said Jan Hawk, who goes to First Congregational Church with Yuri and his wife.

“We pray for Volodymyr and then now for Yuri, Jr.,” said Lisa Harmon, pastor at First Congregational. “And just for Ukraine and for the conflict.”

The brother of Yuri Pronin is Volodymyr Pronin.

Pronin relocated to Maryland seeking a career and to be nearer to other family members after arriving in Billings in October.

Yuri Jr. is already able to distinguish between his country of origin and the United States.

“He can feel it that people have freedom right here,” Yuri, Sr. translated from his son. “They’re not worried. Like different planet.”

Junior and Senior still maintain a strong bond despite having lived apart for 38 years.

After listening to his son, Yuri repeated what he had said in Russian.

“I need to switch,” Yuri, Sr, said.

When he listens to English and then converses with someone, like his son, in English rather than Russian, he claims he likewise forgets to switch.

“He’s very happy now,” Yuri, Sr. said. “He’s in the United States, and he wants to be good, American Citizen. United States is the best country in the world.”


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