Cirencester man says it’s ‘Wonderful’ to be reunited with Ukrainian family

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A family says it is “wonderful” to be reunited in the UK after a mother and her three young children were granted visas to travel from Ukraine.

Steven Barnes’ fiancée Olga Nimak, along with her children and mother, are now living with him in Cirencester following weeks of uncertainty.

They arrived on 8 April and say they have been made to feel very welcome as they settle in to their new home.

“To have them here and see them in the flesh is wonderful,” said Mr Barnes.

He applied under the family visa scheme to bring his fiancée and family to the UK but said he had been frustrated with the protracted process as they were “stuck in limbo” for weeks.

“It’s just about sinking in now. I’ve been worried because it’s things out of my control.

“When I was working and went to get a cup of tea, I said how nice it felt to have life in the house, noise, cooking, people moving around, it feels much more homely now. People have been so supportive,” he said.

Ms Nimak fled Ukraine and travelled to Poland with her mother and children. Her father remains in Ukraine but she hopes he will be able to join them in time for her wedding to Mr Barnes on 7 May.

She said she stayed busy while waiting in Poland by helping to match people fleeing Ukraine with UK hosts.

“The children are getting on very well. It’s been a shock and they’ve been under stress, but it feels right being here,” Ms Nimak said.

“They were a little scared of using the playground and talking to kids but we have plans to help them settle in.

“They are scared people won’t like (as) they are from Ukraine, but they don’t understand people are kind here and kids in the UK know what’s going on so have sympathy for them,” she added.

The community has donated clothing and toys for the family and Ms Nimak said her mother cried when the Ukrainian national anthem was played in the local church to welcome them.

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