Ukrainian teenagers settling in the North East say they miss their normal lives

  • Video report by Jonny Blair

Two Ukrainian teenagers brought to the North East by a Rowlands Gill woman are adjusting to their temporary home, but say they are missing their normal lives in the now war-torn country.Daniil Dushaiev, 15, and Kate Kozyrieva, 13, arrived in the Gateshead village three weeks after Daniil's sister, Slava Shumihin, flew to Poland to bring them to safety in the UK.

Kate told ITV Tyne Tees there are "very friendly people and it's very nice, I like England," whilst Daniil said people here are very kind.

However, their arrival has been overshadowed by their concern for their families in Ukraine. Daniil said he thinks about his family "all the time, because they stayed in Kyiv and I miss here [sic]".

Kate (left) misses the family dog as well as her parents and older brother while Daniil (right) said he's missing his mum and friends Credit: NCJ MEDIA

Slava, 36, who has lived in Rowlands Gill for two years with her husband Oleg, 40, had travelled from the UK to collect her younger brother, and ended up bringing with her young cousin, Kate, too.

She was originally going to stay with her parents and older brother in their village outside Kyiv, but her parents made the snap decision to evacuate her after the village next to theirs was bombed.

Daniil and Kate are settling in Slava and Oleg's home in Rowlands Gill, and are studying remotely with their Ukrainian schools. Credit: NCJ MEDIA

Slava said: "We were really were worried about their lives because it's like every hour in Ukraine, the situation changed very fast, so when we brought them here, we just felt relief.

"We just felt better because we knew they were in a safe place and we can take care for them."

Daniil travelled eight hours alone by train to reach Lviv, where he stayed in a relative's house before Slava arrived to collect him.

All three travelled back to Poland, where they waited to receive their visas, before travelling back to the UK on 31 March.

Daniil and Kate are both nervous about learning in a different language to their mother tongue, although both have studied English. Credit: NCJ MEDIA

As well as their visitors, Slava and Oleg are also having to adjust and get used to life with two teenagers in their small two-bedroom home - but the pair are adamant they wouldn't have things any other way.

Slava said: "It's just hard because you never know what will happen in the next minute. You just wake up and watch the news trying to understand what has happened.

"The night is like the period that concerns us the most because we can't do anything; we can't keep in touch with our families."

Although the couple have their hands full, they are still trying to help their friends and relatives in Ukraine by finding homes for those who want to leave, but Slava says that most people want to stay.

"I put out a message asking local people to consider opening their homes to Ukrainians, and I was overwhelmed with local support," she said.

"I got nearly 20 offers from local people in Rowlands Gill and more than 15 from further afield, so huge, huge support from North East people."

Oleg echoed the sentiment, saying: "You just want to hug everyone that helps you. People bring whatever they have, they don't think they just give it away."