Tico trapped by Russian invasion in Ukraine manages to return to Costa Rica


The anguish is over. Costa Rican Samuel Vindas, 26, who had been trapped in Ukraine after the Russian invasion, managed to return to Tico soil this Friday night with his wife of Ukrainian nationality. He is the first Tico to achieve it.

Leaving Kiev, the capital, was an odyssey in which they passed through Romania, France and Panama to land at the Juan Santamaría airport at 10 pm this Friday.

Samuel says he is “very happy and content” to return to Costa Rica healthy, but sad because people who are very important in their lives and who “unfortunately could not leave” were left behind in the Ukraine.

At the airport, Vindas merged into a strong hug with his mother and father, who received him in tears in the company of other relatives. Samuel described the last days in the European country, which were full of tension and difficult hours.

“There were attacks very close to where we were, downed planes fell nearby and that uncertainty also of leaving by car, it was something very dangerous. In the end we decided to take the risk and we left, but it was very difficult, very stressful and very tiring to the point that I haven’t slept for days,” he declared in the passenger exit area.

To set foot on Costa Rican soil, they completed an exhausting journey. First, from Kiev, they traveled in a vehicle for 14 hours to the border with Romania, where they arrived at dawn. From there they continued the next morning by bus to the Romanian capital, Bucharest, and later moved to France. From Paris they took a flight to Panama, to finally reach national soil on Friday night.

Vindas moved to Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, three months ago with his partner and got married there. The young man assured that the day the invasion began, he was starting a new job in Kiev.

The Consular Department of the Foreign Service Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that Vindas and his wife are the first family that manages to return to Costa Rican soil after the beginning of the Russian attack.

Other Costa Ricans who were in Ukraine when the attacks began have also managed to leave the country these days, although they remain in Europe for the time being. According to the Foreign Ministry, four families were in Ukraine when the military offensive began. Of the total of 15 people, nine are Costa Ricans (five men, one woman and three minors). The remaining six persons are his relatives of Ukrainian nationality.

One of the Costa Ricans who still cannot get out is Sebastián Fallas, 33, who was left stranded due to fear of mines on roads and railways.