Ukrainian refugees return home to visit family

time:2023-06-09 05:32:14source:NBC News author:news

A Ukrainian refugee who fled to the UK after the war started has spoken of her shock at Kyiv being bombed when she returned to visit family.

Maria Melnyk had travelled home to the capital ahead of Christmas when it was hit by renewed Russian missile attacks.

Despite fears for her safety, she made the decision to visit because she wanted to see her family.

Ms Melnyk, who lives with a host family in Derby, said she was worried she could have died during an attack.

"I'm very worried about my family," said Ms Melnyk, who has started working in an office in Nottingham. "I saw the bomb through the window and thought to myself, 'maybe I die now'.

"It is a shock and you don't understand what is happening next. You see one bomb, two bomb, maybe three - [they could land] into your home.

"[I went back to Kyiv] because I wanted to see my family. It is home for me. Every day I want to go back to home."

The Derbyshire-branch of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain says it is helping three other women who have returned to Ukraine to see family for Christmas.

Families have become divided because most men of fighting age are not allowed to leave the country.

Those remaining have faced issues accessing the internet and using electricity following recent bombing from Russian forces, a visiting refugee told the BBC.

Sofiia Danyliuk, who is living with a host family in Derby's Dale Abbey, also returned to her home country with her mother to see family recently.

She has spoken of the "emotional" moment she was reunited with her brother after he was seriously injured when he stepped on a landmine.

Ms Danyliuk said it was a "miracle" her brother was not killed.

She told the BBC: "I was just so happy that he survived. I tried to hug him gently, but it was very emotional. We were just crying.

"We decided to see him because we don't know what will happen next. It's a miracle that he stepped on a mine and he still survived and with his legs. It really is a miracle.

"I am happy I can meet my friends and family but in Ukraine there is no Christmas, no light - it is a very difficult situation."

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