'I am scared about everything': LBC speaks to Ukrainian refugees on Polish border

7 March 2022, 09:37 | Updated: 7 March 2022, 12:02

By Daisy Stephens

A Ukrainian woman fleeing her home country for London has told LBC she is "scared about everything", but said she still has hope and believes "everything will be ok" as they flee war.

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Iryna Shtogryn is hoping to join her husband's family in Tooting, London, with her 14-year-old daughter.

They left the western Ukrainian city of Khmelnytskyi, leaving Ms Shtogryn's husband, brother and mother behind.

Speaking to LBC Correspondent Matthew Thompson at a train station - also being used as a makeshift supply centre - on the Polish border, she said she was frightened about what the future would hold.

"I'm scared, yes," she said.

"About future, about war, about my relatives, about my job. About everything."

Her comments come as the Russians stepped up attacks on civilians trying to flee the country. Pictures emerged today showing thousands of desperate civilians trying to flee Ukraine's second city Kharkiv.

Meanwhile hundreds of civilians were pictured fleeing Irpin, north West of Kyiv, after heavy Russian attacks. Refugees were pictured crossing a downed bridge with the help of Ukrainian troops.

The exact number of civilian casualties is unclear, though is estimated by Ukraine to be in the thousands as residential areas of major cities are indiscriminately bombed.

There have been two failed attempts to evacuate civilians from Mariupol which has been under heavy attacks from Russian troops.

Iryna Shtogryn is trying to get to the UK with her 14-year-old daughter
Iryna Shtogryn is trying to get to the UK with her 14-year-old daughter. Picture: LBC

Iryna said she and her daughter were speaking "every day" with her mother and husband, who is not allowed to leave Ukraine.

"He can't leave and he doesn't want to leave our country," she said.

"He said [to] me he must help and he must protect our country."

Read more: Zelenskyy warns he 'will not forgive' after civilians massacred fleeing Ukraine

Read more: Anonymous hacks streaming channels to show Russians the reality of Ukraine war

In spite of everything, Ms Shtogryn said she was trying to be optimistic.

"I have hope," she said.

"I'm scared but it's impossible to live without hope.

"Everybody has to have hope because if we will not have the hope, Putin will go to victory... we all have hope and we believe that we will end this Putin regime... one day I will go home."

She added: "I believe that everything will be ok.

"I will meet my husband, I want to believe in this fact."

Ms Shtogryn is going to go to the UK Embassy to apply for a visa on Monday.

She said it was "really very important" that she and her daughter could get to the UK.

"We will have the flat and good protection... for a long time," she said.

She pleaded for the British ambassador to help, saying the current scheme helped people with relatives in Great Britain but not those who did not.

"We ask the British government to help us, to see our problems and to give these visas," she said.

LBC will be following her journey.

The supply centre is staffed by volunteers
The supply centre is staffed by volunteers. Picture: LBC

Ms Shtogryn spoke to Matthew at Rzeszoe Train Station on the Polish border.

There, a disused office has been turned into a supply centre.

Volunteers give out goods such as baby formula, colouring books, food and toiletries to people arriving from Ukraine.

There is also a large selection of cuddly toys that have been donated, for children who may have had to leave their teddies behind when they fled with their families.

A young boy chooses a cuddly toy from a box of donations
A young boy chooses a cuddly toy from a box of donations. Picture: LBC

The Home Office revealed that only "around 50" visas had been granted under the Ukraine Family Scheme as of 10am on Sunday.

Foreign Office minister James Cleverly told LBC on Monday the number would increase "very, very quickly".

"The numbers of people who are seeking refuge is unprecedented," he told Nick Ferrari at Breakfast.

"This is the largest refugee flow that we have seen since the Second World War."

He said the Home Office "had to create a system pretty much from scratch".

"It will take a little time to get the system up and running, that's now there, I have no doubt that the numbers will start coming through."

He added that the UK authorities had a "duty of care" to those being let in and checks had to be carried out to assess who they were and what help they required.

"That process will get quicker and slicker and faster, I have no doubt."

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