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Owner of Roman Russian Market in Southeast Portland hires Ukrainian refugees

A Russian grocery store owner is making it her mission to lend a helping hand to Ukrainian refugees.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The owner of Roman Russian Market in Southeast Portland has made it her mission to hire Ukrainian refugees who've fled their home country. 

Fatima Magomadova came to the U.S. more than 25 years ago after fleeing the Russian republic of Chechnya. She said she understands what a lot of the refugees are dealing with.

"I've been under bullets, I came from the war zone," Magomadova said. "I totally feel their pain. I know how it difficult it is when you have family out there."

Olga Piddubna is one of the Ukrainian citizens who was hired. She came to Portland right before the war. Piddubna was a lawyer back home, and now she has to adjust to life in a new country, learning a new language.

"I cry every night because it's very hard," Piddubna said. "All my relatives now in Kyiv are under bombs and rockets."

The Roman Russian Market, located off Southeast 109th and Division, has the Ukrainian flag hanging outside the building, which is meant to show support and solidarity. Magomadova said she's hired five refugees so far and is looking to hire more.

Credit: Bryant Clerkley

"I want to make sure they have fair treatment, that we hire them for work and we provide them housing. I'm personally housing three of them," Magomadova said. 

Magomadova has also helped some of the refugees with their statuses in the U.S. and has helped them hire lawyers.

Millions of Ukrainians have fled from their country since Russia launched a full-scale invasion on Feb. 24. According to NATO, thousands of people, including soldiers and civilians, have died. 

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