Ukraine war: Family relieved to be in Poland after ‘horrendous’ journey across the border | World News

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.

Nick Martin refugee poland piece
Mila’s husband and her son-in-law stayed in Ukraine to fight

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”.

Live updates from Ukraine war: ‘1,200 dead’ in ‘apocalyptic’ city

“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.

Nick Martin refugee poland piece
The family were taken in by the Lucas family

‘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.

Nick Martin refugees in Poland
Antonia Lucas took in Mila’s family in Poland

Key developments:
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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

Nick Martin refugee poland piece
Richard Lucas is a British businessman who moved to Poland in 1991 as a teacher

“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.”

Nick Martin refugee poland piece
Joel was studying computer science in Kyiv before the invasion

‘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.”

People in Ukraine have been seeking refuge in counties including Poland and Hungary
People in Ukraine have been seeking refuge in counties including Poland and Hungary

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.

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