Ukrainian mother refugee in UK misses her cat in Ukraine and will return

Olga Pavolvska and her daughter, Masha are refugees from Ukraine who were welcomed in the UK as a consequence of Putin's invasion of their country. They are among more than 82,000 others from Ukraine in the UK. Olga found settling in the UK difficult. Her daughter, Masha, has found it easier because her English is better and being younger she is arguably more adaptable. She has made friends.

Masha and her mother Olga. She will remain in the UK while her mother will return to Ukraine. Photo: Vicki Couchman.

While her mother will return to Ukraine shortly, Masha, 15, will stay and has been offered a free place at a private school in September. She plans to go to university in the UK afterwards. Of course she misses her home in Ukraine and her friends the but it appears that she is settling well in the UK.

In an interview with The Sunday Times newspaper, Olga said: "It has been difficult and sad. I miss my dog Bekky, my cat Dafne my home and all my plants."

And of course she misses her husband. She has been married for 26 years. And she is worried that her flower business in Lviv, where she and her husband own two shops with three employees, might fold without her presence.

As I understand it, her home is in Kyiv, the capital, from which millions of residents departed and became refugees travelling towards the West and thence to Poland and thence some to other European countries. 

But Putin stopped his assault on the capital a couple of months ago and there is therefore relative calm in Kyiv while all the fighting now takes place in the east. The capital's mayor, Vitaly Klitschko, said that nearly two-thirds of the city's 3.5 million pre-war population had returned.

Olga says that Kyiv is safer that it was and the cost of living in the UK plus her home sickness and the fact that she misses her cat and dog and husband so much means that she is going back together with 2.8 million return crossings at the Ukraine border according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

The cost of living in the UK is forcing many Ukrainian refugees to return. With inflation running at near 10% the cost of living is rapidly becoming more expensive than ever.

Yes, Olga is joining 2.8 million other Ukrainians returning to their country. I hope, for their sake, that Putin continues to leave Kyiv alone and that the war can be confined to the east only. This now seems to be the sole target because he wants a corridor from Russia to the eastern part of Ukraine to the Black Sea for trade purposes. And of course because he found out that he can't win a broader war and annex the whole of Ukraine.

My thanks to Hugo Daniel for his article in The Sunday Times June 26th, 2022. My apologies for stealing the photo.

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