Couple fled across the border from Ukraine as Kharkiv was being shelled

WATCH: Helen and Ian talk to ITV Meridian on the banks of the Danube river in Hungary

A man from Broadstairs in Kent has told ITV News Meridian about his flight from eastern Ukraine, where he feared for his life - and his family's.

As the Russian tanks and missiles headed West, Ian Milham made a split-second decision to flee his home in Kharkiv with his Ukrainian-born wife and her elderly mother.

Ian, who was born in Kent, but has lived in Eastern Europe for many years, is one of hundreds of thousands of people forced from their homes and livelihoods by war.

But his words speak for the many who in the last seven days have had to endure unspeakable hardship and terror.

Ian and Helen fled Kharkiv with Helen's mother

Ian said: "There was a massive strike. You could feel the shockwave and this was the moment. It was like: 'We're under attack.'

"We did panic for a second.

"We turned the lights off because we are 12 floors up so we grabbed our bags and ran down the stairs and we heard five more explosions."

The family began a gruelling 1,300-mile journey from their home city of Kharkiv, close to the Russian border.

Ian and Helen are relieved and saddened to have left Ukraine Credit: ITV News

Initially they tried to enter Romania but they weren't able to cross because of massive queues.

So they diverted to Hungary - and the capital Budapest.

The trek took them five long days.

The couple had to take all the cash out of their accounts and now hope to make it home to Kent. They said they cannot believe the steps President Vladimir Putin has taken.

Ian said: "I've never met someone with such evil and inhumanity in his eyes.

"To do this to people he claims are brothers."

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