OPELOUSAS, La. (KLFY) – A Russian couple that fled the Soviet Union amidst the war on Ukraine has found refuge right here in Acadiana.
Their journey began in March, when Anton Lukin, 28, received a draft notice from the Russian government, informing him he was being drafted to fight in the war against Ukraine.
Lukin, who knew he could not fight for a war he did not believe in, decided to flee here to Acadiana with the help of a Port Barre police officer.
As Lukin was a former Russian police officer, he was one of the first to be drafted.
“I received a draft notice from the military recruitment. I spent about 3 weeks asking people to support me against this war, but all of Russia was against me,” Lukin said.
He says when he began posting on social media, asking others to support him against the war on Ukraine, he was reported to Russian police. Lukin told News 10, “Police were coming to my parent’s house, asking where is Anton? In Russia, if you are against this war, you will go to jail 100%.”
That’s when Lukin knew they had to leave. With the help of his friend, a police officer in Port Barre, he and his wife, Tatiana, made it to America.
Although refusing to answer the Russian draft is treason, Lukin says he couldn’t fight for the cause.
“I don’t want to kill innocent people, and I will be killed,” he said.
Lukin is now wanted by the Putin regime. If he returns to Russia now, he told News 10 that he’ll either be killed, put in prison, or sent to fight on the frontlines in Ukraine as a Russian prisoner. These soldiers are called, ‘war dog battalions.’
“They have only one task, to clear the town or clear any place. They’re raping. They’re robbing people. They’re killing civilians. They do anything because they’re prisoners,” he told News 10.
Port Barre police officer Brad Tate helped Lukin and his wife escape these fates.
“He said, ‘I don’t want to go and kill innocent civilians in Ukraine, and I received a draft notice to go to war. What do I do?’ He was like, ‘Can you help me?’ I said, ‘Look, if you guys can find a way to lawfully come to this country, I will help you in any way that I can,” Officer Tate said.
Officer Tate helped Lukin and his wife pay for their plane tickets and found a way to bring them to Acadiana.
“Not only was I being compelled morally, but he’s one of my best friends,” officer Tate added.
The couple is now living with him at his home in Opelousas.
“The Russian citizens are no different than us. They’re not the enemy. The regime is the enemy, and if we can look at ourselves in the mirror and say, ‘You know what? We’ve done everything we can do to help.’ That’s the takeaway from this. How can we as Americans look in the mirror and say that we’ve actually done something?”
Lukin and his wife are in contact with immigration lawyers but need help financially for immigration and legal expenses.
You can help the couple by donating to their GoFundMe.