TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Imagine leaving a country that has invaded its neighbor, being on a long international flight back to the United States, and all of a sudden the pilot says they need to turn around.

That’s what happened to Jonathan Bush and his wife before they finally returned to Tampa Wednesday night.

“We met in a parking lot in downtown Tampa and a year later I’m in Russia during a war,” Bush told News Channel 8.

Bush traveled to Russia in December with his wife to visit her family and explore the country.

“The Russian people treated me well,” he said. “I was the only American, the only black American.”

They planned to extend their trip until mid-March, but then the Russian invasion of Ukraine began last week.

“Once that first bomb hit Ukraine that’s when we’re like it’s for real, for real, this is serious,” Bush said.

Bush said his wife’s family helped them book tickets back to the U.S. with a Russian airline. Hours after taking off from Moscow last weekend, he said the pilot told the passengers they had to turn around because of Canada’s ban on Russian flights.

At that time, Russian planes also were not allowed to fly over the European Union.

“I said what type of creative route is the pilot gonna have to do and are we gonna run out of gas,” Bush said, recalling that flight. “I actually started kind of, both of us, fearing for our lives to be honest with you.”

That plane did make it back to Russia, where Bush encountered new challenges trying to home to Florida.

“My cards were declining off [the] jump, they were declining, so they started declining American cards,” Bush said.

After seven attempts, he said they booked new flights through the Middle East.

“Luckily we were able to get on a flight from Qatar to New York which was insanely expensive cause they kept jacking up the prices,” Bush said.

Finally on Wednesday, Bush and his wife landed at JFK before the last leg of their long trip home on a flight to Tampa.

“I’m just very glad to be American,” Bush said, “Glad to be back in America. A lot of the privileges and freedoms we have we take for granted. We have no idea how they live in other countries.”

During his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Joe Biden announced the U.S. was banning Russian flights from American airspace.