'I'm distraught': Woman living in Jersey fears for family fleeing Ukraine

A Ukrainian woman living in Jersey has told ITV Channel TV of the fear she feels for her family, who have fled the country following the Russian invasion.

Annoushka Kehoe's family, including her twin sister, have crossed the border to Poland - a journey which took them four days.

"I'm distraught, I don't have emotions, I go from so low where I can't speak. I haven't slept for four days. I slept last night for a few hours. Before they were on the street, they were without anything on a street. I can't put it into words."

Annoushka says they are the lucky ones. There are queues of people waiting to cross the border. She and her husband Glen have been in constant contact with her family, but are struggling to get them a visa.

"We can hear the gunshots on the phone, what do you do, the only thing I can do for anybody is bring them to safety and that's all I want, for our government here to help."

During the States Assembly sitting Jersey's External Relations Minister Senator Ian Gorst said:The Government of Jersey continues to stand alongside the UK and international partners in its condemnation of the appalling actions of Russia against Ukraine and the Ukrainian people.

We have seen Islanders respond with the compassion that one would expect. Among our community are people who experienced first-hand an occupation by a foreign force.

Jersey will do all it can to help the Ukrainian nationals who are living in the Island, and Government has established a group of officers dedicated to supporting those families and helping them get their loved ones to safety.

I would like to thank the Polish Consul for her efforts in coordinating the community’s support and also to Deputy Inna Gardiner who has been instrumental in guiding myself and officers in how to best target advice and support to Islanders with family members in Ukraine or fleeing through the western borders. I extend my sincere gratitude to the Parishes and those officials and all Islanders who have opened their hearts and pockets to support Ukraine.

This lunchtime, the UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has widened UK visa eligibility for people wishing to join family members. It will now include adult parents, grandparents, children over 18 and siblings – in addition to the immediate family members who had previously been eligible.

A new visa sponsor route will also be created to let British businesses bring Ukrainians to the UK. I’m pleased to announce that Jersey will mirror these changes. We are maintaining ongoing discussions with the UK Home Office, as look at the best ways to assist these families

There is an existing immigration route to enable Ukrainian nationals who are the immediate family members of British nationals to come to Jersey, but we are examining further options to assist these families.

It comes as people across the Channel Islands have rallied round donating toiletries and clothes to the thousands of people fleeing.

Jersey has followed the UK and banned Russian planes from its airspace over the island and its territorial sea.

It follows a similar move by the UK. The ban applies to anyone who owns a plane that is ordinarily resident in Russia or a company that is based there.

Jersey has also banned Russian boats from accessing its ports. Specifically, any vessels that are:

  • Owned, controlled, chartered, or operated by any person connected with Russia

  • Owned, controlled, chartered or operated by Designated Persons

  • Flying the Russian flag

  • Registered in Russia

Peter Wilding from Guernsey, who is currently advisor to the Chair of the Defence Select Committee Tobias Ellwood, spent last week in Ukraine. He feels further action can be taken.