A Ukrainian grandmother is ‘settling well’ in a guest bedroom after her son-in-law from Ellesmere Port spent nearly two weeks rescuing her from the Russian invasion.
Michael Felton, 61, traveled more than 1,700 miles to bring the 83-year-old grandmother of his children to safety in the UK after her town of Kharkiv was bombarded by Russian airstrikes. He said the “frail” pensioner lived alone and had started removing her hearing aids at night to block out the sound of explosions, CheshireLive reports.
Mr Felton said it took “some coercion” to convince the mother of his Ukrainian wife, Nadia, known as Babulya by her family, to leave Kharkiv despite Russia bombing the city. He told the PA news agency: “She’s quite comfortable and happy now, I’m going to introduce her to a Russian-language comedy that she likes to watch.
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“I haven’t asked her about the war, mainly because I don’t want her to think about it anymore. She doesn’t look sad or in tears, or doesn’t want to talk about what happened. past, it’s almost like she accepts it for whatever it is.
“I would rather let her just sit and watch her shows, laugh, eat, chat and be comfortable.” Mr Felton said his wife of 15 years, who now lives in Thailand, spent “most of her time in tears” after her elderly mother was “prepared to die at home if necessary”.
Nadia, who only speaks Russian, finally managed to escape from Kharkiv on a bus with a family friend’s young grandson and her miniature Yorkshire terrier, called Ken. She suffered a ‘horrific’ fall while traveling and left with bruises on her face before being picked up at the Polish border to begin the ‘exhausting’ journey to the UK.
They drove through Poland before flying to Paris where they took a train to Calais and then a ferry across the English Channel, arriving in Dover at 9 p.m. on March 20. It was there that Nadia was forced to say goodbye “in tears”. dog, who is spending three months in quarantine in Essex.
Mr Felton said: “It was awful, she was very distraught and cried a bit in the car when we left, you could see it was very upsetting for her.” Mr Felton said Nadia had settled in ‘well’ and was staying across the street in a neighbour’s spare bedroom.
He added: “I just want her to be somewhere quiet and calm with people smiling, where she doesn’t have to worry about where the next glass of water or slice of bread is coming from. Imagine if someone said to you, here’s a suitcase, go home and pack what you can and you might never come back.
“Your whole life is just that one suitcase and you don’t know if you’ll ever be able to come home or even if it’ll still be up the next day. It must be awful but how it kept itself together just shows the strength and the nature of these people.”
Mr Felton added that the process of getting refugees from Ukraine to safety should be made easier and that the UK government should do more. He said: “Although it’s not about bringing them directly to the UK, the UK certainly could have done more to help.
“Especially since the government is still sponsoring the war by providing weapons to make sure more killings continue. What will they do after all the Ukrainians are dead? I don’t know.”