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Russian political refugees seek new start in Ontario

Roman and Danil Korenkov have been on the run from their native Russia since 2021, after protesting against President Vladimir Putin’s government in Red Square.

“They are genuine political refugees that have been kicked out, well not kicked out of their country. In fact, they were forbidden to leave Russia, but they have left, and if they return, they face 15 years minimum in prison,” explained their Canadian supporter, David Sparrow.

Sparrow, who is the pastor at Hanover Missionary Church, was contacted by the twin brothers through a private refugee sponsorship website. He was the only person to respond to their cries for help from their refugee camp in Germany.

“They contacted 300 people, and out of the 300, we were the only ones to respond,” said Sparrow.

The stigma from their homeland followed the Korenkovs through refugee stops in Poland, Switzerland, and now, Germany. Sparrow said he speaks to the twin brothers on a daily basis, and said they are desperate for a democratic nation to call home.

Reverend David Sparrow of the Hanover Missionary Church in Hanover, Ont. speaks with Russian political refugees, Roman and Danil Korenkov on June 7, 2023. (Scott Miller/CTV News London)

“They are looking for somewhere new to start life again. They are 22 years old, and I felt very sympathetic and empathetic for them, because, while we give a lot of attention to other people that are suffering at the hands of the Russians, here are some Russians suffering at the hands of their own people. They have nowhere to go,” he said.

Sparrow said the church can’t sponsor the brothers’ move to Canada alone right now. But, he’s already found leads on housing, and possible financial support from locals and members of his congregation.

“I’m hoping we can find at least five people willing to sponsor them. And form a committee that will go forward in opening a pathway for them to come to Canada,” said Sparrow.

Sparrow said Roman and Danil will be sent back to a refugee camp in Poland shortly as they try and find a permanent place to call home, where citizens are allowed to voice dissent against their government, without being thrown in jail.

You can learn more by contacting Sparrow at or 1-705-770-7897. Top Stories

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