Family sent back to war-torn Ukraine after lengthy visa delays

UK and Ukraine flags

After multiple visa delays, the family have had no choice but to return to Ukraine - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

A Ukrainian mum and her two children set to take refuge in Suffolk have had to return to war-torn Ukraine after lengthy visa delays.

The sponsored family were temporarily residing in the Czech Republic where they were awaiting approval to come and join their host family in Capel St Mary.

The family are being sponsored by Virginia Coyle under the British government's Homes for Ukraine scheme.

They fled Ukraine on March 13 with all of the necessary paperwork submitted to the government on April 12. 

However, after multiple visa delays, the family's temporary residence in the Czech Republic has expired and they have had no choice but to return to Lviv, western Ukraine. 

"It's just appalling", said Mrs Coyle. "It seems to me that more than one mess-up has occurred.

"The system clearly isn't working."

Candles in front Ukraine flag

Mrs Coyle said the family "are woken up by sirens at night and can hear the bombing" - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The family consists of Maryna, who asked for her surname to remain anonymous, and her two daughters, aged eight and 13.

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The trio fled Ukraine following Russia's invasion earlier this year.

Since returning to Lviv, Mrs Coyle said they have been seeing friends and family but "are always frightened."

"They are woken up by sirens at night and can hear the bombing. 

"Nobody in authority can say this is acceptable."

Last month, Mrs Coyle contacted local MP, James Cartlidge, who assigned a case worker to help the Suffolk resident find out more. 

She described the worker as "helpful" but said the situation remains unclear.

We approached Mr Cartlidge for a comment but received no response.

"I've tried everything", said Mrs Coyle.

"I don't know what more I can do."

A woman walks past anti-war graffiti in support of Ukraine, painted on shutters in Dublin city centre.

The family fled Lviv after Russia's invasion of Ukraine earlier this year - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

When asked about the family's situation, a spokesperson for the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said: "Almost 70,500 Ukrainians have now arrived safely in the UK through our visa schemes and we are doing all we can to support them into work and education so they can create a life here.

“Together our uncapped Ukraine Family Scheme and Homes for Ukraine routes are amongst the fastest and biggest visa schemes in UK history.

"Over 124,400 visas have been issued, showing the work we’ve done to speed up the process is working and improving daily.”