St Helens teacher who quit job to help family in Ukraine is prepared to fight for country's freedom

Correspondent Elaine Willcox spoke with former teacher Ian Umney, who is currently in Ukraine with his family.

A British teacher who travelled 1,700 miles to be with his family in Ukraine says he is prepared to fight for the war-torn country.

Ian Umney, from St Helens, on Merseyside, quit his job as an English teacher to be with his Ukrainian wife Nelia, 26, and two-year-old son.

The 28-year-old, who has a large following on the social media platform TikTok, flew from Manchester to Krakow on Sunday, 27 February, before travelling to the Ukrainian border.

Ian, his wife Nelia and their son.

"They opened the door and my son reached his arms out to me and I hugged him", Ian said. "And I wept into my wife's shoulder - and gave them both a big kiss."

He says if the time comes he will join the Ukrainian resistance and fight for his wife's country's freedom as they face overwhelming odds.

"The only thing that scares me is knowing my son won't have a father when he grows up", Ian explains.

"It's a last minute thing for me to do, to go and join and bear arms, but I am willing to do it if I need to."

People protest against war in Ukraine. Credit: PA images

Russian forces are continuing to pour into Ukraine, with paratroopers reportedly landing in Kharkiv, and more than 2,000 civilians casualties caught up in the bombs.

Ian Umney fears Nikopol, where they are currently located, will be next in the firing line, as he tries to get an evacuation flight to the UK for his wife and young son.

He said: "I told him [his son] I love him maybe a hundred times in the last few days, it's everyday normal life for him, which I'm glad for."

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