Tinder users help Ukrainian refugees find shelter and support

“It was very inspiring."

Kai Pfaffenbach / reuters

Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, more than 2.5 million people have fled the country, making it Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War II. In trying to find shelter in neighboring countries like Romania, some Ukrainian refugees have turned to an unexpected place for help: Tinder.

The New York Times recounts the tale of one such individual, Anastasia Tischchenko. She and her friend Natalia Masechko posted their plight to the dating app when they fled their home of Ivano-Frankivsk, a city of approximately 230,000 located in western Ukraine, south of Lviv.

“I’m thinking there are a lot of honest people in the world, and some of them are on Tinder,” Tischchenko told The Times. She was right. Several people swiped right on her profile to offer help, including one man who put Tischchenko and Masechko in touch with a friend of a friend of a friend who found a monastery the two could sleep in while in Siret, a Romanian city on the southern border of Ukraine. “It was very inspiring,” she said. After their stay in Siret, Tischchenko traveled to Poland, while her friend Masechko stayed in Romania to help the next wave of refugees.

Like the war itself, the refugee crisis has hit a critical inflection point in recent days. On Friday, officials in Poland’s two largest cities, Warsaw and Krakow, said they were struggling to accommodate all the people arriving in the wake of the conflict. Warsaw Mayor Rafał Trzaskowski warned the “situation is getting more and more difficult every day.” The UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees has warned that as many as 4 million people could flee Ukraine due to the war.