Mila looks tired but relieved.
She’s playing on the bedroom floor with her grandson.
He’s got his one and only cuddly toy and they are laughing and giggling.
Mila is 55, and fled Ukraine with her daughter and grandson, first boarding a train west then walking the rest of the way, eventually crossing over to the Polish border at Medyka.
She described their journey as “running from firing”.
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“We are safe now and that makes me feel happy but I cannot help think about my husband and son-in-law who are back home fighting,” she says.
‘We had to do something’
Mila is happy because she has been taken in by a generous family, who have opened their doors to five refugees fleeing the fighting.
British-born businessman Richard Lucas and his daughter, medical student Antonia, 22, decided to help after seeing images of people fleeing the invasion on the news.
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• West has ‘serious concern’ Putin could unleash chemical weapons on Kyiv
• Moscow’s claims of biological weapons programme in war-hit country are ‘absurd propaganda’, says US
• Home Office confirm new UK visa centre in Lille will not accept walk-in applications from Ukrainian refugees
“It is the most horrendous humanitarian situation and we had to do something,” said Richard, who first came to Poland in 1991 as a teacher.
“I have never seen anything quite like this – the level of violence is extreme and simply unacceptable. Antonia wanted to help and I unconditionally supported her.”
Antonia’s father was away on business when she decided to invite refugees into their home.
“It is obvious that they have suffered hugely on their journey here – they are traumatised – traumatised by war.”
‘We have done nothing wrong’
Joel was studying computing in Kyiv when he decided to head west to safety. But he said the journey was “horrendous”.
“There was a lot of suffering on the journey. The Russians shelled us, they bombed and I saw people dead by the roadside. It was scary. It was terrible,” he said.
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“I don’t understand what is happening – we have done nothing wrong. It was horrendous.”
Joel stops talking. He seems numb. Then he sighs: “I don’t know what to do now. I don’t know where to go from here.”
This home has become a safe house, a sanctuary for those running from their own homes.
But with two million fleeing Ukraine and counting, Ukrainians could need more than the goodwill of strangers to ease their pain.