Russian circus owner helps Ukrainian performers flee the war with show in UK

  • Watch Laura Jackson's report for ITV News Anglia

A Russian circus owner is helping Ukrainian performers to flee the country by touring a special show in the UK.

Sixteen Ukrainians are currently performing in Circus Cortex which will play at venues in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Northampton.

Circus co-founder Irina Archer, who is Russian, now wants to help more Ukrainian artists to escape the invasion. 

She said: “Even though they’re here and safe, their family and friends are still in Ukraine, and they’re constantly worrying about it.

“To have no plans for the future is very difficult. 

“But what they’re telling me at the minute is that they just want to have a bit of normality.”

Unicyclist Viktor Gorodetskiy has been performing since he was a child.

Among the Ukrainian circus acts is Viktor Gorodetskiy, who arrived with his wife Yulia and son Valdis under the Homes for Ukrainians scheme, which was set up to help refugees.

Six-year-old unicyclist Valdis has started primary school in Norwich this week. 

Most Ukrainian men cannot leave the country in case they are called to fight, but Mr Gorodetskiy was given a special permission because of his profession. 

The family fled Mikolaev in southern Ukraine after rockets and bombs hit their city.

Fleeing to Khmelnitskyy, they stayed with Mr Gorodetskiy's parents who are also circus artists, before spending two months in Lviv.

Mr Gorodetskiy said: "Only when I perform I am smiling. When I finish performing, I am thinking about Ukraine all the time.”

Circus Cortex performers travelled from across Ukraine to the UK. Credit: ITV Anglia

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