Ukrainian family flee war to be reunited with loved ones in Plymouth

Watch Richard Payne's report above

A family fleeing the fighting in Ukraine have been reunited with loved ones from Plymouth after being forced to leave their home and other relatives behind.

Lyuda Brett, who lives with her English husband, has endured weeks of worry for four generations of her family. But after securing UK visas, they finally arrived in the west country today (March 22).

"It's been so long expecting this moment," said Lyuda, embracing her niece, Anastasiia Pidhorua who arrived on flight FR8207 from Budapest with Lyuda's six-year-old great niece, her sister and 78-year-old grandmother, who is in a wheelchair and has dementia.

"There is huge relief because they are in safety now."

Lyuda Brett (left) last saw her niece on a family visit to Ukraine last summer Credit: ITV News

The family's ordeal began a little over a week after Russia's invasion. Fleeing their home city of Cherkasy in central Ukraine on March 3 and leaving behind male relatives, they arrived just outside Lviv two days later.

Still fearful for their safety, they travelled south west by car and the Hungarian border. Two weeks later they'd secured UK visas to arrive here for up to three years.

"We are very grateful to the British government for the opportunity to escape all the horrors we have in our country. Now we can feel safe," said Anastasiia.

The family fled their home city before spending days travelling to safety Credit: ITV News

She told ITV News how her family had to leave almost everything in fear for their lives. "We had to leave our flat and took some bags and passports. It was horrible, sleeping in the shelter at night because of the air raid sirens. It was very nervous and stressful."

Lyuda says although relieved, she still fears for all those still in Ukraine.

"For millions of people it's still a nightmare," she added. "I just wish it (the war) would stop."