"Ukraine will rebuild itself quickly when the war is over" says refugee staying with British MP

Vika, left, with Victoria Prentis MP

The first Ukrainian refugee to be given shelter by a British MP says her country will rebuild itself quickly when the war is over.

Vika, a 25-year-old from southern Ukraine who was living in Kyiv, is now staying with North Oxfordshire MP Victoria Prentis at her family home in Banbury.

She travelled to the UK after being in contact with Ms Prentis’ daughter Tilly, who worked in Ukraine last year.

And although happy to be safe, she told ITV News Meridian she struggled over whether to leave the country or not.

WATCH: Vika is proud of her countrymen and women

She said: “I was travelling across western Ukraine, in one city and another, and I could not decide what to do.

“My family was still in southern Ukraine and it was really painful to realise that I cannot help them directly.

“I cannot send them food and stuff right now because it is very difficult to get into the town.

“When I decided to leave, my friends helped me a lot. They offered me help, a house and love.”

She is in contact with her family when the signal allows and says: “I am feeling pain every second to realise my family cannot be with me and I cannot be with them.”

Vika worked in Kyiv, which has been the target of strikes during the war Credit: PA

A teacher who also worked in a law firm, Vika is still working a few hours a day for her employers and tutoring but wants to get a job in the UK to support her family and donate money to Ukraine.

She said: “I’m proud of the Ukrainian people and very grateful for all the support the world is providing.

“We’ve already won this war. We are so united. Even though millions of people are abroad, we are still a community.

“We hope to rebuild the country very fast, because we can do it.”

WATCH: Victoria Prentis says there are other Ukrainians in the area too

Vika came on a visitor visa but Ms Prentis, believed to be the first MP to take in a Ukrainian fleeing the war, said the family visa scheme has now had 25,000 applicants and she has been told the Homes For Ukraine scheme will soon be processing 3,500 applicants a day.

She has learned a few words of Ukrainian - “it’s very much at the please and thank you level at the moment” - and hopes to help Vika secure work.

She said: “It was very difficult for Vika to leave her family behind.

“Even though she doesn't really want to be here, we know she would rather be at home getting on with her normal life - we will try to make this as positive an experience as we possibly can.”