Norfolk man races across Europe to save wife from war-torn Ukraine

A Ukrainian woman reacts after arriving at the Polish border.

A Ukrainian woman reacts after arriving at the Polish border. - Credit: AP

A Norfolk man is racing across Europe to rescue his wife and mother-in-law as they attempt to  flee from war-torn Ukraine.

Former college lecturer David Shaw, 63, is driving 1,600 miles to the Polish border to rescue his 47-year-old wife Dana and her mother Anna, 70.

People walk by a damaged vehicle and an armored car at a checkpoint in Brovary, outside Kyiv, Ukraine.

People walk by a damaged vehicle and an armored car at a checkpoint in Brovary, outside Kyiv, Ukraine. - Credit: AP

Speaking on route in France on Tuesday afternoon, he said he expects to be at the Ukrainian border on Thursday and hopes that his relatives will be able to meet him there.

“I spoke to them about two hours ago and they are safe so far,” he said. “It’s really that they are just trying to find a way to the border crossing.”

His wife had returned to her home country shortly before the Russian invasion, after her mother and father contracted coronavirus.

Refugees from Ukraine cross into Poland at the Medyka crossing.

Refugees from Ukraine cross into Poland at the Medyka crossing. - Credit: AP

Mr Shaw said he could not reveal where they were and did not want to say whether there had been conflict in that part of Ukraine, but he is in regular contact and hoped they will be able to make the journey to the border.

The UN's refugee agency has said that about 660,000 people have fled Ukraine for neighbouring countries since the Russian invasion began.

Shabia Mantoo, a spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said: "At this rate, the situation looks set to become Europe's largest refugee crisis this century."

Refugees fleeing the conflict in Ukraine arrive at the Medyka border crossing in Poland, Monday, Feb

Refugees fleeing the conflict in Ukraine arrive at the Medyka border crossing in Poland. - Credit: AP

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The government has announced that more Ukrainians will be allowed to enter the UK to join family members as they flee the war zone.

A new scheme will also allow individuals and organisations to sponsor Ukrainian refugees to come to the UK.

The first phase of the plan had allowed people in Ukraine who had immediate family members in the UK to come and join them, but the move was criticised for being too restrictive.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz

Prime minister Boris Johnson, with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, has announced that more Ukrainians will be allowed to enter the UK. - Credit: PA

Downing Street said people living in the UK would now be allowed to bring in "adult parents, grandparents, children over 18 and siblings" in addition to those who had previously been allowed.

On a visit to Poland - where the most refugees have been crossing the border - Boris Johnson told his Polish counterpart Mateusz Morawiecki: "We stand ready, clearly, to take Ukrainian refugees in our own country, working with you, in considerable numbers, as we always have done and always will."

Ukrainian families say goodbye as they prepare to board a bus to Poland at Lviv bus main station, western Ukraine.

Ukrainian families say goodbye as they prepare to board a bus to Poland at Lviv bus main station, western Ukraine. - Credit: AP

Mr Shaw taught management at the College of West Anglia, in King's Lynn where his wife taught maths and English. The couple lived in North Wootton and Castle Rising.  

Friends in Norfolk helped him raise more than £2,000 on GoFundMe to help him and a friend to make the marathon journey to Poland in his VW Golf from the outskirts of Glasgow, where the couple now live.