Woman rescued parents from Ukraine after six-day drive before being held up in Calais

9 March 2022, 15:32 | Updated: 9 March 2022, 16:53

By Tim Dodd

A British woman has described how she made a six-day drive to rescue her elderly parents from Ukraine who were running out of medication.

Leah in Maidstone, who is a British citizen, told Tom Swarbrick: "It took me about 6 and a half days to actually get there and back. Most of that journey, I never stopped anywhere, I just wanted to get there.

She made a six-and-a-half day journey by car from Maidstone in Kent to Lviv to find her parents and save them from the encroaching Russians.

Leah said her parents were in their seventies with "all sorts of ailments" and needed to leave Ukraine as there is "no medical support for those sorts of people now because all the medical effort goes to the war".

After arriving at UK passport control in Calais on her way back, her parents, who had ten-year visitor visas, were asked to do additional checks such as biometric data.

Those who visit the UK regularly can apply for a long-term Standard Visitor visa lasting 2, 5 or 10 years. This allows a maximum stay of six months on each visit.

Read more: 'Big area of failure': Jeremy Hunt slams UK's approach to Ukrainian refugees

"All that had been done in the British consulate in Kyiv," Leah said.

Tom asked whether this would have happened before the invasion of Ukraine.

"Absolutely not," she replied.

"I just find it absolutely unbelievable that that had been put in place for people who had gone through all the checks already."

Leah told border force that her parents would not be providing fingerprints and were "probably mistaking" them for refugees who would go through that process.

It was only after Leah threatened to speak to the press over their treatment that border force then dropped their request for fingerprints.

Read more: Govt toughens ban on Russian aircraft to 'inflict more economic pain' on Putin

It comes as the Ministry of Defence has warned British soldiers that they are banned from travelling to Ukraine after reports emerged that four serving squaddies travelled to the country of their own accord to fight.

The Home Office has clarified that biometric data is requested of all UK visa holders entering the UK.

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