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Daily Record
Daily Record
Geraldine McKelvie & Lynn Love

Brit trapped in Ukraine along with wife after evacuation plan is aborted

A British man and his wife are trapped in Ukraine after their evacuation plans were aborted.

College lecturer Charlie Gilkerson, 68, and his wife Iryna, 58, are among the civilians trapped in the city of Mariupol.

Despite agreeing to a seven hour ceasefire, an evacuation planned for earlier today was aborted amid accusations Russian forces had bombed humanitarian corridors.

Charlie Gilkerson went to a pickup point in the hope of being taken to safety, but he said buses which were supposed to remove civilians from the combat zone were not there and the Russian aggression had not stopped, reports The Mirror.

He texted frantic daughter Beverley saying: “Definitely no ceasefire! Nobody is there!”

An apartment block in Mariupol which has been damaged by shelling (Reuters)

Beverley, from Wakefield, West Yorks, is now desperately searching for options to bring Charlie, and Iryna, back to Britain.

Her dad, who is in Ukraine on an extended holiday, has limited access to vital blood pressure medication and can’t walk far.

Beverley, 37, said: "This is like a bad dream that's just not going away - and it's getting worse by the day.

“My dad was at one of the supposed pickup points, but there were no buses and no ceasefire as far as he could tell.

“He’s had to go home but that’s all I know. He has to leave the flat he lives in to get a signal on his mobile so we’re just sending him what we know from the media when we see it.”

Charlie and Iryna divide their time between the UK and Ukraine and have been in Mariupol since January.

But as tensions began to escalate last month Charlie caught Covid and wasn't well enough to leave.

Fires in Mariupol, Ukraine (Reuters)

He has now recovered from the virus but is stranded as Russian forces have spent days bombarding Mariupol, a port city in the southeast of the country.

There is no water, heating or electricity and Charlie and Iryna’s food supplies are dwindling fast.

Beverley said: "Mariupol is massive, so when you see there has been an attack, you tell yourself it can't be where he is - but then you just don't know.

"It just means you don't sleep, because a lot of the activity is through the night.

"We are constantly checking WhatsApp for the last time my dad was active so we can literally see if he is alive.

"It's hard to keep going. Aid cannot get into the people who need it.

"The hardest thing for me is thinking that he is cold and hungry.

We are trying everything possible to get him out. We just want to get him and get his medication."

Charlie and Iryna were shocked when Russian troops arrived despite weeks of speculation war was imminent.

Beverley said: "The hardest bit for my dad was that up until two weeks ago there was no sign there was anything untoward.

"He genuinely didn't believe it - he almost thought it was just propaganda."

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