Ukrainian mother in UK feels guilty over suffering of children under Russian invasion

  • Watch a report for ITV News Anglia by Sarah Cooper

A Ukrainian mother living in the UK says she feels guilty when she feels her own children laughing because of the suffering being endured by thousands of youngsters under Russian attack.

Slava Trach and her sister Valentina Potter are trying to convince their sister to leave Ukraine with her children and come to the UK as the fighting intensifies.

Fighting back tears, Ms Trach told ITV News Anglia she feared for children caught up in the Russian invasion.

"I feel guilty that I can take my children to the playground they can laugh and run and I feel guilty," she said.

"When I hear my children laughing, I feel guilty because there's thousands of children that are now crying. They have no food, they have no water, they are scared.

"I sat down to have dinner the other night and I said 'I can't eat it'. How can I eat food knowing that there's thousands that are starving?"

Valentina Potter is trying to raise £50,000 to send aid to her native Ukraine. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Ms Potter, who runs a soft play centre in Northampton, said that she too was struggling to focus given the situation in her homeland.

She is now trying to organise a £50,000 fundraiser to pay for vital supplies to be sent into Ukraine from across the border in Poland.

"I have to come to work because otherwise you are just wallowing in your own pity," she said.

"So I have to come and do something to distract myself, to be around people... feel like you are doing something, otherwise you are just sitting there watching the news and crying."

She said they were trying to persuade her sister, who remains in Ukraine, to leave the country, but she was unwilling to leave her husband. Men of fighting age have been banned from leaving.

"To go from a position of a self-sufficient person who is doing well for themselves, to a beggar is not easy for them," she said.

Ms Potter said she was desperate to do whatever she could to support Ukrainians leaving the country, and appealed to the government to be allowed to help.

The current scheme allows close relatives of Ukrainians settled in the UK to join them.

"We don't need to charity we just need a passage to safety," she said.

"That's all we need. There's X amount of us who are here and who are established here and who are capable of taking Ukrainians in.

"Whether it's my family or my friends, whoever it is, Ukrainians that I know or don't know - I'm able to support them, I'm able to provide shelter, I'm able to feed them."