Ukrainians celebrate first Christmas in the UK

Ukrainians who fled their country earlier this year are beginning their traditional Christmas celebrations away from home.

Despite the war in Ukraine, families like the Yanyks have said the festivities must go on.

After travelling to County Durham with her two children, mother Svitlana Yanyk said it is more important than ever to keep the Ukrainian spirit and culture alive.

She said: "It’s so hard to celebrate anything but we must be strong and try to be happy even in this difficult situation.

"It's very important that we have got here the possibility to celebrate Christmas, to feel that a life is going on. We are very happy that people around us, they give us the possibility."

Becoming emotional, she added: "We want to thank you so much because what they do for us - it's difficult to say with words. So many people have left violence with no jobs, without anything."

They has been living with her partner Mike Farrell, who has been hosting the family at his home in Consett.

He said: "They're the ones that are displaced. I just want them to be as happy as possible. I'm sure they would do the same for me."

An event was held on Monday 19 December for Ukrainians to celebrate with the host families who have provided them a home.

Diana Tsarenko, who travelled to the North East from UK this year, said: "Of course you are missing your family so much and you want to be together.

"We are trying to win this battle and I believe everything will be fine. We are trying to cheer ourselves up and keep distracted."

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