The sleepless nights of Welsh residents with family in Ukraine as Russia invades

Video report by ITV Cymru Wales Political Correspondent Owain Phillips

A Welsh-Ukrainian couple have described the "myriad of emotions" after Russian troops launched a "full-scale invasion" of the country.

Dozens of casualties are already reported in Ukraine, with sirens sounding across the capital, Kyiv, and explosions heard on the outskirts of the city.

Back in Cardiff, those with relatives in Ukraine are suffering "sleepless nights" as they await updates from their loved ones.

A convoy of Russian armoured vehicles moves along a highway in Crimea on January 18 Credit: AP/Press Association Images

Husband and wife Cyndy Litnianska and David Romaniw are part of the Voice of Ukraine Wales Group and described the moment they learned attacks had begun.

"It's a myriad of emotions - shock, fear, panic, what's happening to my family?" Cyndy told ITV Wales.

David added: "I haven't heard back from family yet but I imagine they're feeling similar emotions to what I am. I didn't get much sleep last night thinking about the situation.

"Then when I woke up and seen (Putin) is pushing further and bombing several cities, it's very distressing and not a pleasant time."

Cyndy Litnianska is keeping touch with family living in Ukraine, who are choosing to stay put. Credit: ITV Wales

Explosions have been heard across Ukraine - in the capital Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro and Odesa - as President Zelenskyy cut diplomatic ties with Russia and declared martial law, while urging Ukrainians to remain calm and stay home.

"How can they defend themselves against tanks with handguns?" Cyndy said.

"I phoned my family this morning and apart from being shocked at the escalation, they said the Russians are mostly bombing military targets, such as Kharkiv - people are panicking there and trying to get out of Eastern Ukraine.

"My family are staying put. They said they're going to stay and ride it out and see what happens.

"So many people don't want to leave, they have pets, jobs, responsibilities."

Wales and Ukraine have the 'same family values'

Cyndy's father was born in Ukraine and re-settled in Wales. He loved the similarities between the two countries.

She said: "Ukrainians are family people, when my father came here to Wales and married my mum, one thing he loved about the Welsh people was the same culture as Ukrainians and the same family values, same religion.

"They love singing, they love a drink or two, my father joined the Côr Meibion Pontarddulais and very much integrated into the community."