Norfolk woman escapes war-torn Ukraine as fighting rages

A woman holds Ukrainian passports as she waits to register for a bus which will take refugees to Ger

A woman holds Ukrainian passports as she waits to register in Poland. - Credit: AP

A Norfolk woman is preparing to be reunited with her husband after fleeing the warzone and across the Ukrainian border.

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 from the Russian invasion.

But the couple are now set for an emotional reunion after both women managed to get out of the country and find their way to the Polish capital of Warsaw.

Displaced Ukrainians stand in a line on the train platform after arriving from Ukraine at the statio

Displaced Ukrainians stand in a line on the train platform after arriving from Ukraine at the station in Przemysl, Poland. - Credit: AP

Speaking on route 200 miles from the Polish capital on Thursday afternoon, Mr Shaw said it had been a “huge relief” to learn they had passed over the border on Wednesday night.

“I haven’t had a chance to have a conversation with them yet about what it was like to get out of the country or the border crossing,” he added.

“But it is just a relief that they are out of Ukraine and I’m massively looking forward to being reunited.” 

Firefighters extinguish a building of Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) after a rocket attack in Khar

Firefighters extinguish a building after a rocket attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city. - Credit: AP

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

Mr Shaw now plans to stay in Poland until they have managed to obtain a visa for Anna to come to the UK.

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The government has said people living in the UK will be allowed to bring in "adult parents, grandparents, children over 18 and siblings".

More than 750,000 refugees have fled Ukraine in the last week and many more have been displaced inside the country, with the UN estimating that up to four million people could flee the country due to the conflict.

Displaced people queue to get on a train to Poland, inside Lviv railway station, in Lviv, western Uk

Displaced people queue to get on a train to Poland in Lviv, Ukraine. - Credit: AP

Leading British aid agencies have launched a joint fundraising appeal.

The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), a group of 15 charities, began the effort on Thursday, with one member executive describing the situation as one of the most "heartbreaking" he had ever seen.

Every pound donated by the British public will be matched by the government through its Aid Match scheme up to the value of £20 million.

Local militiaman Valery, 37, carries a child as he helps a fleeing family across a bridge destroyed

Local militiaman Valery carries a child as he helps a fleeing family across a bridge destroyed by artillery, on the outskirts of Kyiv, 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 £2,300 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.