Putin must fail: 'Special hero' PM pens letter to Ukrainian refugees in Staffordshire

A pair of refugees received a personal welcome from "special hero" Boris Johnson when they swapped war torn Ukraine for Staffordshire.

 Oksana, Nataliia, and Michael Fabricant MP with the PM's letter
Oksana, Nataliia, and Michael Fabricant MP with the PM's letter

Nataliia and Oksana are being put up in Lichfield having fled their home country after the Russian invasion.

And the pair, who have been granted UK visas, were welcomed to the country by none other than the Prime Minister – who they regard as a "special hero" and Ukraine’s "greatest friend and ally".

After granting a request from Nataliia for a signed photo, the PM wrote them a letter offering them a "warm welcome" to the UK and Lichfield.

He wrote: "I know that you have come to the UK under extremely difficult circumstances, however, I do hope you are settling in well and are receiving all the support you need.

Mr Johnson went on to express his hopes for a "peaceful, sovereign and independent" Ukraine, and added: "Let me assure you that nothing is off the table when it comes to the UK's support for Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and indeed the desire of its people to live in peace, democracy and free from foreign bullying.

"Putin must fail. I can assure you the UK Government, standing alongside our friends in Ukraine and allies around the world, using all possible means at its disposal, is urgently engaged in ensuring he does."

Mr Johnson also passed on his gratitude to the Ukrainians host, Diane Shore, and said he had been "deeply moved by the generosity shown by so many people across the country who are opening up their homes to those in need".

Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant, said: "I was so pleased to meet Nataliia and Oksana and hear that they both received their visas relatively quickly – one in 10 days, the other in 14 – while they were in the safety of the west.

"They are both lovely girls keen to return to Ukraine and rejoin their families and friends when it is safe to do so. I found it quite an emotional meeting and am so grateful to Diana Shore and the kind people from Lichfield and throughout the West Midlands who are hosting these refugees.

"Nataliia told me of the cruelty of Russian soldiers. Anyone they capture is stripped and if found with a tattoo of an eagle or other symbol which they think is patriotic, is executed by the road side there and then.

"She was really worried and upset about the fate of the brave soldiers still fighting against impossible odds in the steelworks of Mariupol."

Diana Shore hosts a Facebook site coordinating homes for Ukrainians in the UK. She said: "There is a lovely warm Ukrainian community developing in Lichfield and other parts of the country.

"My Facebook site invites people to share their home with a Ukrainian guest for 6 to 18 months. The Government gives support of £350 per month, but Ukrainians are very interdependent and seek their own work locally or often bring work with them, remote working on their computers.

"The Ukrainian national character is one of neatness, quietness, and respect so they are a joy to host. Their love for their country means they are looking forward to returning home when it is safe to do so."

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