Spalding grandfather prepares to leave the UK to fight against Russia on the front line in Ukraine

  • ITV News Anglia's Stuart Leithe spoke to Andrew Muryn-Antonyshyn

A Ukrainian grandfather living in England is preparing to travel to his homeland to join the frontline fight against Russian forces.

Andrew Muryn-Antonyshyn lives near Spalding in Lincolnshire but said he wanted to join the war effort to fight to protect his daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren, who still live in the country.

They are based in Kamianka-Buzka, a small town in the west of the country near Lviv.

The 56-year-old told ITV News Anglia: "Young guys are supposed to go to the front line and be injured or killed - [but] it's better if elder people do this. Younger people are needed to help their generation to grow."

Mr Muryn-Antonyshyn said he had two reasons for wanting to take up arms.

"First, it's my home country. Secondly, my two grandchildren and my elder daughter is still there,

He has been trying to find a way for his 36-year-old daughter, Olia, and her two children, Zahar, eight, and Sofia, 16, to get out of Ukraine since the fighting started.

His son-in-law, Oleh, 38, is already fighting the Russians and Mr Muryn-Antonyshyn said he was determined to join him.

He said that whether he could get his daughter out or not, he was determined to travel to his homeland to fight.

He is planning to fly to Ukraine later this week to bring his family over to the UK, and would then book himself a one-way ticket to join the fight against the Russian forces invading his home.

When Andrew Muryn-Antonyshyn goes to fight in Ukraine, he will be leaving behind his wife and children. Credit: ITV Anglia

Mr Muryn-Antonyshyn would be leaving behind his wife Oksana, their children Daniella, six, and Danny, 20, as well as 300 rare breed pigeons he keeps in his garden aviary.

He had been collecting pigeons since he was a boy in Ukraine but knows that the birds need new owners when he is focusing his attention on the frontline.

While Mr Muryn-Antonyshyn will be turning his attention eastwards to the fighting, he also called on the West to increase its pressure on Russia, arguing that sanctions were not the way to deal with the invasion.

"When Saddam Hussein came to Kuwait, Kuwait was not a member of NATO but the response was immediate," he said.

"Now [on the] first day, we have a thousand people killed and still only sanctions, so somebody has to take gun in their hands and go into the front line."

In Ukraine, authorities have been handing out weapons to anyone willing to defend their city, while others are being trained on how to make firebombs.

In the latest developments, crucial talks between Ukraine and Russia got under way on Monday on the border with Belarus in the hopes of bringing an end to the fighting.Thousands of Ukrainians tried to flee to Poland and other European countries over the weekend, with the UN estimating that Russia's attack could create as many as four million refugees.