A Ukrainian woman has spoken of her journey from her home to the United Kingdom after the outbreak of the Russian invasion.

Iryna Okhrimenko, who was living in Kryvyi Rih in the Dnipropetrovsk region, was forced to leave her home with her family after the conflict broke out and travelled to Grange in Cumbria.

In her home country, Iryna was an accountant and entrepreneur who also worked as a crisis psychologist.

After arriving in England, she has received support from the community including members of the Foodshare organisation in Grange.

Her journey took her from her home country through Poland, and then through Europe with her sister and their daughters.

Iryna said: “(Myself and my family) got to the UK on May 6. Our sponsors arranged for us the whole transfer from Poland; where we were at the time, to their home and in everything we were accompanied and helped to the maximum.

“Thanks to them the trip to the UK was interesting and easy. My sister and I and our two daughters, we all moved to England together.

“For me, what is happening in Ukraine now is not a conflict - it is a bloody war and genocide of the Ukrainian people. I decided to flee Ukraine in early March, when I learned that Russian troops are a few kilometres away from us. It was very scary, especially when you have children.

“At that time, I was feeling confusion, fear, pain that all my life I have to pack in two bags and run away not knowing where. It was awful.

“I ran away with my daughter; she is 10 years old. I did not know where to go and what to do. But it was necessary to save the child first of all.

“We boarded a train provided by the local government and we left without knowing exactly where we were going.

“We drove a very long time, about 25 hours. This is a long time for such a distance.

“The train carriages were crowded, and the train was running without light and water. Women, children, and the elderly were sitting, lying, standing around, there was no free space anywhere.

“It was horrible and scary.

“Then we arrived at the station in the city of Lviv, a city in Ukraine which at that time it was quiet and safe.

“Many people could not move and we were told that about 25,000 people arrived that day.

“Then we reached the border with Poland, which passed on foot from 10:00pm to 6:00am. It was hard, my daughter couldn't walk anymore and she was falling.

“It was all so scary, hard, horrible that I don't want to mention it

“Since coming to England many people have helped us.

“The sponsors we live with now are trying to do their best to make our stay in England the best. I am very grateful to them.

“Also, the volunteer girls Ania and Barbara, who organized our acquaintance with our sponsors and support us and help us in everything at any time. I am very grateful to them all.

“Everyone who has left their home in Ukraine because of the war has its own terrible history.

“I know that it is difficult for everyone to realize and accept that this is happening to us.

“But we must live on every day, step by step, even though it is so hard for us at the moment.

“Everything will be fine with us.

"Glory to Ukraine.

“I am very grateful to the British for the opportunity to live safely and feel protected, thank you for your support and help.”

The Grange community has welcomed numerous families from Ukraine with hopes to settle more in the future.