Scottish father who fled Ukraine with young family arrives safely in Poland


A Scottish father who fled Ukraine with his newborn baby has arrived safely in Poland after spending 38 hours at the border.

Father-of-two Ken Stewart lived 40 miles west of Kiev with his wife Tania and children three-year-old Yaryna and Douglas, born two weeks ago.

An air base a few miles from his home was attacked on Thursday and military planes were flying overhead.

The family fled but were forced to join a queue of hundreds of cars trying to enter Poland, which is a member of the European Union.

Ken, originally from Edinburgh but living in Ukraine for 15 years, arrived in Poland last night.

Pictured, pictured, Ken and his wife Tania

He said: “We arrived in Poland last night, 38 hours in the queue.

“We are the lucky ones.

“Save a thought for those thousands of people who are still in this queue, and for many other lines from Moldova to Poland.

“I haven’t seen anyone lose it, no fighting, no selfishness but a feeling of being all together.”

He added: “Ukrainians are an example for the world to follow.

“I imagine you all get that by now.

“They seem to be built differently than the rest of us.

“Yara, our three-year-old, should be a role model for children around the world.

“She kept a smile on her face most of the time and never really complained. She clearly takes after her mother.”

Pictured, Ken with his wife Tania and daughter Yaryna, 3.

The couple had already started the process to obtain a British visa for Tanya.

But they were offered a meeting at the British Embassy in Kiev on Friday, the day after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an attack across Ukraine.

Although as the wife of a British citizen she is eligible for a visa, the family does not know how easy or quick the process will be.

Ken added: “Today we are torn between relief at having brought our children to safety and guilt at having left so many behind.

“Sometimes you have to make tough decisions.

“Our children drove those decisions. Completely.”

He added: “We left behind in-laws – Tanya’s parents, brother, wife and 10-year-old son.

“Leaving him there hurts but they wanted to stay together.

“They now spend their days in a bomb shelter in the basement of a kindergarten in our village.

Ken and Tania’s newborn, Douglas, who was born two weeks ago.

“The shelling and shelling in the surrounding area is holding them back.

“What keeps our hopes alive is the fact that the Russians have met their match, more so than their match against the Ukrainians.

“They won’t leave the country without a tough fight.

“They are literally fighting for the survival of their country.”

Ken said the family was moving into a hotel, where they were taking hot showers after the arduous journey.

He added: “Then we’ll get down to getting Tanya a visa for the UK. As if we don’t have enough to worry about.

“My wife is Ukrainian and I am a British citizen – both children have British citizenship.

“But the UK government absolutely refuses to facilitate the process for my wife to get a visa.

The Scottish government has urged the Home Office to lift visa requirements for all Ukrainians wishing to enter the UK.

It is understood that the UK is reviewing its Ukrainian refugee scheme.

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