Scot hopes to reunite with wife battling to escape Ukraine as she crosses border

The husband of Ukrainian Natalya Fisher last night landed in Budapest as he tried to reunite with her.

The Daily Record told yesterday how Natalya, 38, became trapped in the Ukraine after she was told by the Home Office she could only get a spouse visa from her home country.

She was advised to fly there from her home in Boddam, near Peterhead, and departed two days before the invasion – despite PM Boris Johnson telling the world disaster was looming.

Peter Fisher, 50, said his wife had managed to reach the west Ukraine town of Uzhhorad, close to the borders with Hungary and Slovakia.

Peter, a fitter for Autoglass, hopes Natalya will be able to meet him in either Budapest or Bratislava on Thursday, all going well.

Natalya has been forced to use cash raised by her parents selling their precious gold jewellery, while Peter is using cash set aside for a spouse visa for his travel costs.

Scot Peter Fisher with his Ukrainian born wife on their wedding day.

He said: “Things have gone as well as could be expected and I’m hoping with all my heart that I will be able to see Natalya and hold her on Thursday. I won’t believe it until it happens but I hope this nightmare will soon be over.”

Peter was furious at the Home Office suggesting that he and Natalya had misinterpreted advice.

He said: “We were categorically told on the phone that if flights were still flying into the Ukraine we could only apply for a spouse visa from there.

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“We received an assurance letter that rammed home that Natalya could be seen as an overstayer on April 28 and that could impair any future visa application.

“It said she had to get out of Scotland before then, so we felt we were doing the right thing, as we didn’t expect an actual invasion.

“We were never for a second told that she could stay put in Boddam without endangering our future in Scotland.”

Natalya traveled from her home in Boddam, near Peterhead, two days before the invasion on February 23, hoping to be in and out before the crisis escalated.

Natalya Fisher at the Lviv train station mobbed with people trying to flee war torn Ukraine

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But she got stuck in her home city of Dnipro, where she ended up making Molotov cocktails for resistance efforts instead of filling in visa forms.

Peter was yesterday flying from Aberdeen to Gatwick to Budapest, during which time Natalya was seeking to get from Uzhhorad to a border crossing.

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She will then have to report to a visa center to negotiate the best visa for the UK. As Peter’s wife she now qualifies for entry under a loosening of rules announced by the UK Government this week.

During her travel from Dnipro to Lviv and onward, Natalya sent many harrowing text messages to Peter, which revealed the terror and confusion being faced by her fellow Ukrainians.

Pictures show messages sent to Peter Fisher by his Ukrainian wife Natalya as she tries to get out of the war torn country

One message said: “Just in case, I’ll tell you right now that I love you and meeting you is the best thing that happened in my life.”

Another told: “Peter, I just contacted a lawyer, she says that I have no chance of getting a visa in Lviv.

“Now this is the situation: the trains to Poland, which run on schedule, are all cancelled, because everyone is stuck in Kyiv, where the depot was bombed.

“Everything that comes from Lviv, without tickets and just in line. There are fights on these trains, people throw bags from the train to each other.”

She later texted: “I’m on the train, There are 1000 people without tickets, lie on the floor, sick children, I feel like a monster, but I took my place, before there was a refugee without a ticket, but I can’t stand for 20 hours.”

Peter and Natalya married in Odessa in June last year and she has stayed in Boddam on a visitor visa since Christmas, as they saved for the £3300 needed for a full spouse visa.

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A letter from UKVI to Natalya on February 17 stated she would be allowed to stay until April 28.

Letter sent to Natalya on February 17 makes it clear she needs to get out of Scotland by April 28

It adds: “During this time, you will not be regarded as an overstayer or suffer any detriment in any future applications. However, you must make plans to leave the UK prior to the date your assurance expires. If you do not leave on or before this date, you will be classed as an overstayer.”

The SNP’s Shadow Home Secretary Stuart McDonald MP has slammed the Home Office for its “cruel” policies.

Peter and Natalya’s MSP Karen Adam last night said the Home Office had put her life in peril.

She said: “The scenes in Ukraine are deeply worrying, although Boris Johnson was warned of pending invasion.

“Even by Westminster’s standards, I am aghast that my constituent was instructed to go to an area which the UK Government knew was potentially precarious. This has put my constituent’s life in peril.

“Imagine sending anyone to Ukraine with the news that was coming from there weeks in advance. It was the most signed invasion ever.”

The SNP member added: “First and foremost, my heart goes out to Natalya and Peter Fisher and their loved ones in what will be an incredibly worrying time.

“This awful situation has highlighted that the UK’s immigration policy is so unfit for purpose that it is now endangering lives.

“I will be writing to the Home Office as a matter of urgency to demand they do everything in their power to return Natalya home to Boddam safely.”

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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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