Hull man escapes Ukraine to Moldova as Russian forces move towards Kyiv

  • Graham Jones speaks to ITV Calendar

A man from Hull who has fled Ukraine to Moldova has told ITV News the invasion of the country hasn't quite "sunk in" for him yet.

Graham Jones has lived in the country for 12 years and taught English in a school in Odessa.

He escaped from the country yesterday with his Ukrainian wife and daughter following Russia's multi-pronged invasion.

He said people from his old apartment building are "very nervous" and are texting about where the nearest bomb shelters are.

Ukrainian officials fear "today will be the hardest day" in its war against Russia, as they expect troops to launch a tank attack on its capital Kyiv in a bid to overthrow the government.

As Russian forces advanced their invasion to the outskirts of the capital, explosions were heard in Kyiv in the early hours of Friday morning amid "horrific" rocket strikes, said Ukraine's foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba.

Graham told ITV News: "It's tragic really, I don't know what to say - it's terrible, we are the lucky ones who got out.

"People always think about people's safety, which is really important but it's what comes after - the financial thing.

"Everything is closed, no one is working, Ukrainians don't have savings in general so people are going to need to eat and buy stuff and things are going to get expensive.

"The vast majority of people won't get killed or injured but after it all stops then what?"

Graham and his family made it to Kishinev in Moldova last night. Credit: ITV News

He said that he doesn't think he and his wife will return to the country to live there once the war has finished.

He said: "I don't think we will go back to live in Ukraine. We lived well, I had a good job, everything was pretty good. I don't think we would go back now.

"My wife is a refugee and I hope that she will be able to come to Britain now."

President Vladimir Putin's "full-scale invasion" resulted in the deaths of 137 Ukrainians in the first full day of fighting, according to the country's president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The president this morning held further talks with Boris Johnson over Ukraine's next steps of defence amid the "insidious attacks on Kyiv", as he said his country today "needs the support of partners more than ever".