Michael Fabricant today (Friday 20th May) met with two refugees in Lichfield from the war in Ukraine and had a special message from Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to give them.
“It was lovely to meet Nataliia and her host Diana Shore from Lichfield along with another Ukrainian refugee, Oksana being hosted by another family” says Michael. “I was told by Nataliia that Boris Johnson is regarded as a ‘special hero’ in her country and is ‘Ukraine’s greatest friend and ally’.
“Diana Shore, Nataliia’s host, asked whether Boris would sign a photograph for Nataliia and in the end he not only did this writing ‘Nataliia – Best wishes and Welcome to the UK!, Boris Johnson’, but also wrote a personal letter to her.”
In his letter, the PM wrote:
“Dear Nataliia, After hearing of your situation from my colleague Michael Fabricant MP, I wanted to offer you a warm welcome to the UK and the wonderful constituency of Lichfield.
“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. I would also be grateful if you would pass on my gratitude to your host, Diane Shore. I have been deeply moved by the generosity shown by so many people across the country who are opening up their homes to those in need.
“I trust that we will again see a peaceful, sovereign and independent Ukraine. However, I do hope that, in the meantime, you are able to enjoy the time you spend with us in the UK. 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.”
Michael adds “I was so pleased to meet Nataliia and Oksana today 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.”
As well as hosting Nataliia, Diana Shore also hosts a Facebook site coordinating homes for Ukrainians in the UK. She says “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 to hosts with £350 given per month, but Ukrainians are very independent 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.”
Photo shows l to r Oksana, Nataliia, and Michael along with the PM’s letter to Nataliia