Scots dad who fled Ukraine home with young family makes it safely to Poland

A Scots dad who fled Ukraine with his newborn baby has made it safely to Poland after spending 38 hours at the border.

Dad-of-two Ken Stewart lived 40 miles west of Kiev with wife Tania, and children Yaryna, aged three, and Douglas, who was born two weeks ago.

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

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

Ken, who is from Edinburgh but lived in Ukraine for 15 years, arrived in Poland last night.

Pictured Pictured ken and his wife Tania

He said: “We made it into Poland last night, 38 hours in the queue.

“We are the lucky ones.

“Spare a thought for those thousands who are still in that queue, and many other lines from Moldova to Poland.

“I didn’t see anyone lose it, no fights, no selfishness but a sense of all being in it together.”

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

“I imagine you have all worked that out by now.

“They appear to be built differently from the rest of us.

“Yara, our three year old, should be a model for children everywhere.

“She kept a smile on her face almost the whole time and never really complained. Clearly takes after her mother.”

Pictured Ken with wife Tania and daughter Yaryna, 3 .

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

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But they had been offered an appointment at the British Embassy in Kiev on Friday – the day after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an attack across Ukraine.

Although, as the spouse of a British citizen, she is entitled to a visa, the family does not know how easy, or quick, the process will be.

Ken added: “Today, we are torn between relief for getting our children to safety and guilt for leaving so many behind.

“Sometimes you have to make difficult decisions.

“Our children drove those decisions. Completely.”

He added: “We have left behind in-laws – Tanya’s parents, brother, his wife and their 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 baby, Douglas, who was born two weeks ago.

“Shelling and bombing in the surrounding area keeps them there.

“What keeps our hopes up is the fact that the Russians have met their match, more than their match in the Ukrainians.

“They will not give up the country without a mighty fight.

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

Ken said the family was getting settled in a hotel, where they were having hot showers after the arduous journey.

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

“My wife is Ukrainian and I’m a UK citizen – both children have UK citizenship.

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

The Scottish Government has urged the Home Office to lift visa requirements for all Ukrainians seeking entry to the UK.

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

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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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