Ukrainian mother on her hopes for her children's futures as they settle in Northamptonshire

  • Watch Graham Stothard's report for ITV News Anglia

A mother who fled her home in Ukraine with her two children to live with a Northamptonshire family has spoken of her hopes for their futures.

Toni Babchenko and her daughters Christina and Dacha have been in the UK for a week and were found a place to live with the help of Ukrainian-born activist, Valentina Potter, who lives in the county.

Mrs Babchenko's husband, her children's father - like most men in Ukraine - had to stay behind.

She said: "It is so hard. And he's crying every day. I'm sorry. We miss him. He misses us. Just... now our life is like that. 

"I just try to be brave. I have kids, so I need to be strong for them, first of all. And actually, the kids are the reason why I am here. Because in Ukraine, they might not have a future."

Toni's husband had to stay behind in Ukraine Credit: ITV Anglia

Mrs Potter knows the pain of family separation herself. ITV Anglia filmed the moment she was reunited with her Ukrainian relatives at the airport last month.

Now, she is helping other families escape and says she spends all of her days filling out application forms for visas.

But she is appalled at how long it is taking.

She said said: "I have been involved in over 100 sponsors for the refugees, helping them with paperwork. And everybody is still waiting.

"The spokesman for the Home Office just a week ago said that they are aiming for it to take 48 hours from filling the application to actually saying 'okay, you're good to go'. It's currently taken over three weeks for most people."

The Home Office said it was processing applications as quickly as possible.

"We continue to speed up visa processing across both schemes with almost 30,000 visas issued in the last three weeks alone and thousands more expected to come through these uncapped routes," said a spokesman.

Dr Emre Amirak, who is hosting Toni and her family, called the process "inhumane".

The GP said: "It's been wonderful having Toni and her daughters with us over the last few days. And the girls are wonderful. Toni herself is wonderful.

"But it's been such an appalling process to have to go through both for them and for us, really. It's been very difficult. It's very paperwork heavy. It's very bureaucratic. And it just is completely inhumane, really."

As the war in Ukraine rages on, Mrs Babchenko and her children face an uncertain future.

But the mother is hopeful that one day she will be able to return home.

She said: "The greatest hope for me is, I just pray every day for the war to stop, so we can go back home and continue the life we had before. The happy life."