Mother fears 'no one can help' family stuck in Ukraine

Yulia Horaichuk of Ely

Yulia Horaichuk, who moved to Ely two years ago, said her family and friends in Ukraine are hiding in underground shelters amid Russia's invasion of her home country. - Credit: Yulia Horaichuk

A Ukrainian mother living in Cambridgeshire is uncertain if her family and friends will get the help they need amid after Russia invaded her home country. 

Yulia Horaichuk moved to Ely two years ago, and has made England “my second home. 

“I’m married to an English man, raising a half-Ukrainian, half-English daughter.” 

But in her home country, Yulia’s family and friends have been hiding in underground shelters to escape Russian bombardment. 

“My family and friends all over Ukraine have to hide in underground shelters, especially in the capital city of Kyiv which is being heavily attacked,” said Yulia. 

“No one can help them much from here.” 

Yulia has called for residents in and around east Cambridgeshire to support Ukraine in its efforts to combat Russia’s invasion through online petitions

One of those petitions includes closing Ukraine airspace to Russian planes

“Ukraine’s asking NATO and the European countries including the UK to help Ukraine protect the sky,” Yulia said. 

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"We’re all scared of possible use of nuclear weapons by (Vladimir) Putin, so we’re asking all European countries to take active part in preventing this in all possible ways.” 

The European Union, which Ukraine is not a member of, issued a blanket ban on all Russian aircraft flying over the airspace of any of its member states. 

Home Secretary Priti Patel MP announced that Ukrainian refugees can come to the UK if they have relatives who are British nationals. 

Yulia believes the visa system is not simple and is calling for change. 

“Ukraine would be very grateful if the UK made the visa system a little bit less complicated,” she said.  

“For example, my family and friends can’t visit me here in England very easily as the visas are expensive and hard to get. 

"Even for me who has a British spouse and a British child, it was very hard and expensive to get a visa to live here.” 

The UK government has faced calls to waive visa rules for Ukrainians leaving the country as the invasion continues. 

By supporting Ukraine, Yulia hopes her homeland can become “a proper European country. 

“Ukrainians are very grateful for British support; the UK government is reacting very quickly and is being one of Ukraine’s most effective helpers.”