Mum in UK doesn’t know if her children are alive in Ukraine following Russia invasion

Olena Berezhnyi, 56, who has a family in Ukraine but lives in Nottingham, said she can “barely stay calm” thinking her children might have not survived the Russian invasion overnight

Olena Berezhnyi from Lenton, Nottingham
Olena Berezhnyi, 56, said she can “barely stay calm” as she has been unable to reach her family who live on the Russian border

A terrified mum-of-two and grandmother is haunted as she worries her Ukrainian family may not have survived the night after Russia invaded.

Olena Berezhnyi, 56, said she can “barely stay calm” as she has been unable to reach her family who lives on the Russian border.

Russian ground troops have crossed the Crimea border into Ukraine after Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” in the East of the country.

Ms Berezhnyi could barely stop the darkest thoughts taking over her after watching the land where her loved ones lives are getting “completely destroyed”, reports Nottinghamshire Live.

Her two sons and their families, including a 6-year-old granddaughter live in Derhaci, live in a small town around 20km away from the Russian border.

Olena Berezhnyi (third from left), from Lenton, Nottingham, pictured with her family in Ukraine


Olena Berezhnyi/BPM Media)

She has been trying to get in contact with them all morning, but has had no success.

“I do not know if they are still alive – I do not know what happened to them”, she said while fearing the worst.

“I am just hoping that they managed to escape.”

Ms Berezhnyi, now a cleaner in Lenton, said the last time she spoke to her 24-year-old son was on Wednesday morning (February 23).

She added: “They told me that they are ready to fight – they are ready to do it for Ukraine.

“And now I am just scared and I can barely keep calm.”

The devastated Ukrainian said her heartbreak is beyond words after she saw her home in ruins on TV this morning.

“I was in shock when I saw my home town Kharkhiv destroyed,” she added.

“I was sleeping when all that happened – and now I do not know where my children are.”

Ms Berezhnyi came to Nottingham from her hometown of Kharkhiv in 2004 to care for her grandfather, who had cancer.

“I am stressed but I know I have to remain calm and keep working here because I have to make more money to send them to Ukraine and help my country.

“But now my family, my hometown, my country and everything I knew is gone.”

Shortly after Putin’s chilling televised address, explosions were also reported in the outskirts of the cities of Kharkiv, Kramatorsk, Mariupol, as well as the capital Kyiv.

“To anyone who would consider interfering from the outside – if you do, you will face consequences greater than any you have faced in history”, he said on a television broadcast around 6am Moscow time.

Ms Berezhnyi, who is fighting against the darkest thoughts about her loved ones, said: “Putin is pure evil.

“Putin does not believe Ukraine exists – he does not care about us, who are grieving abroad or the ones stuck there.

“I feel nothing but despair.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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