Man drives 1,700 miles to Ukraine to save mother-in-law from Russia invasion in two-week rescue mission

A Ukrainian grandmother is “settling in well” in a spare room in Cheshire after her British son-in-law spent nearly two weeks rescuing her following the Russian invasion.

Michael Felton, 61, from Ellesmere Port, drove greater than 1,700 miles to convey his youngsters’s 83-year-old grandmother to security in the UK after her house got here below fireplace throughout Russian air strikes. Mr Felton stated it took “some coercion” to persuade his Ukrainian spouse’s mom Nadia, often called Babulya to her household, to depart her house in Kharkiv, north-east Ukraine, after Russia started shelling town.

“She’s pretty comfortable and happy now, I go over and put a Russian-speaking comedy show on for her that likes to watch,” he advised the PA information company. “I haven’t asked her about the war, mainly because I don’t want to make her think about it any more.

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“She’s not looking sad or tearful, or wanting to talk about what’s happened… it’s almost like she’s just accepting it for whatever it is. I would much sooner let her be content, sit and watch her shows, have a laugh, eat food, chat and be comfortable.”

Mr Felton said his wife of 15 years, who now lives in Thailand, has spent “most of her time in tears” after her elderly mother had been “prepared to die in her own home if necessary”. He said the “frail” pensioner had been living alone and removing her hearing aids at night to block out the sound of Russian bombs.

Nadia, who can only speak Russian, eventually managed to escape Kharkiv on a bus with the young grandson of a family friend and her miniature Yorkshire terrier, called Ken. She suffered a “horrible” fall while travelling and was left with bruises across her face before she was picked up by Mr Felton at the Polish border to begin the “exhausting” journey back to the UK.

Journalists walk inside a destroyed warehouse for storing food, after an attack from Russia twelve days ago in Brovary, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 29, 2022. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
Journalists stroll inside a destroyed warehouse for storing meals, after an assault from Russia twelve days in the past in Brovary, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 29, 2022. (AP Picture/Rodrigo Abd)

They travelled by automotive throughout Poland earlier than flying to Paris the place they caught a prepare to Calais after which a ferry throughout the channel, arriving in Dover at 9pm on March 20. It was there that Nadia was pressured to say a “tearful” goodbye to her canine, who’s spending three months in quarantine in Essex.

“It was horrible, she was very distraught and cried for a bit in the car when we drove off… you could see it was very upsetting for her,” Mr Felton stated. The pair then drove to Bristol Airport the place they stopped in a single day earlier than making their remaining journey again to Cheshire the subsequent morning.

Mr Felton stated Nadia has “settled in well” and is staying throughout the road in the spare room of a neighbour. “I just want her to be in a quiet, calm place with people who are smiling, where she hasn’t got to worry about where the next glass of water or slice of bread is coming from,” Mr Felton stated.


“Imagine if someone said to you, here’s a suitcase go into your house and pack what you can… and you might never be coming back. Your whole life boils down to that one suitcase and you’ve no idea whether you will ever be able to come back to your home or even if it will still be standing the next day.

“It’s got to be horrible but how she’s kept herself together just shows the strength and the nature of these people.” Mr Felton added that the method of getting refugees to security from Ukraine needs to be made simpler and the UK Authorities needs to be doing extra.

“Even if it’s not a case of bringing them directly into the UK, there is definitely more that the UK could have done to help,” he stated. “Especially since the Government is still sponsoring the war in terms of supplying weapons to ensure that more killing continues. What will they do after all the Ukrainians are dead? I don’t know.”

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