Born out of war - the close friendship between Ukrainian and Russian students in the UK

  • Click here to watch a report for ITV News Anglia by Natalie Gray

Their countries are at war, but two best friends have come together to stand united against Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Ekaterina Dudakova's home is near the Ural mountains in Russia, while Anastasiia Medvedieva's home is Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine under siege from Vladimir Putin's forces.

As the war rages they have vowed to look after each other as they try to concentrate on their studies at the University of East Anglia in Norwich - and have organised a protest to show their united front against the violence.

Ms Medvedieva, 18, said being so far from home made their friendship extra special.

"This friendship has been very important to me especially lately," she said.

"[Anastasiia] has been so supportive and I always admired how active she is against the Russian government and so I knew from the beginning that she will support me and that means this friendship is really precious and important to me right now.

Her thoughts are echoed by Ms Dudakova, 21, who said the two had become even closer.

"I think the second everything happened the first person I messaged was Anastasiia," said the English and drama student.

"I was asking how her family is, if everything is ok. We both didn't sleep that night which I find quite awful and ironic at the same time.

"We were just chatting back and forth, checking on each other and everything and it is a very precious friendship in the time of crisis." 

Anastasiia Medvedieva's family have fled to safety from Kyiv Credit: Family photo

Ms Medvedieva's family have now left their home city of Kyiv and have found shelter away from the worst of the conflict.

"They are staying close to the border. I do not know their plans for the future but it is important for me to know they are safe. It makes me calmer and reassures me that everything will be okay again," said the psychology student.

They both belong to the UEA's Russian Speaking Society and along with friend Victoria Coleman, who is half-Russian, have organised an anti-war protest.

It will be held on the campus in Norwich on Friday afternoon at 4.00pm.

Ms Coleman said it was important to show a united front and urged as many people as possible to attend the protest.

"It is really important with this protest to show we support Ukraine but are also supporting each other by being united," she said.

People arrive at a border crossing in Medyka, Poland Credit: Visar Kryeziu/AP/PA