12:10pm Thursday 6th March 2014
By Stephanie Manley
A FOSTER home created by the generous donations of South Lakeland residents is caught up in the Ukrainian crisis.
The five teenagers living at Genesis House, near Kiev, have been evacuated for their safety, with the younger ones sent to a camp away from the trouble and the older ones staying at college to prevent transport in and out of the city.
The Ukraine conflict started with the fatal protest in Kiev which has spilled over to threaten the Crimean region.
Being just outside the capital and on the main route to Crimea, parents at the home, Sasha and Olena Donsky, are said to be ‘terrified’.
Kendal grandmother Pat Harrison, who founded the New Beginnings charity to raise the money for the safe house, said she was in regular contact with them, but that she did not know how long this would be possible.
“I am worried that soon we won’t be able to communicate because mobile phones are being cut off,” she said.
“We have done our best to make sure the children are as safe as possible, but it is a very scary situation.
“Just last week I was told people came into the village, sent all the children home from school, bashed up the teachers and took over the building. Nobody knows what’s going to happen next.”
The Donsky’s son Andrey, 32, moved to Kendal 16 years ago - around the same time as Olesya, who he later married.
He said he had tried to speak to his parents once or twice a day, and expressed fears for his wife’s family who live in Crimea.
“In Crimea they have been cut off from the mainland. Prices have gone up because the value of the local currency has halved. The food in shops is running out because people are stockpiling it.
“They are just stuck inside and trying to keep their head down. We have been told that there are armed vehicles all around and people with machine guns – people are very scared.”
He added that his parents were also trying to ‘keep a low profile’, despite the clashes stopping in Kiev.
“The concern now is that it’s very uncertain because there is no real police force in control. People are walking around with masks and guns in their hands, and nobody knows who’s in charge. A few days ago just miles from the house three policemen were killed by men who took their weapons.
“All we can do is follow the news and try to keep in touch. We were meant to be visiting at Easter but I don’t think that will happen now.”
On Tuesday Foreign Secretary William Hague told the House of Commons that the Government’s first objectives were to avoid any further military escalation, and to see Russian forces withdraw.
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