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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Geraldine McKelvie

Brit trapped in Ukrainian city of Mariupol after evacuation bid aborted

A British man and his wife are among civilians trapped in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

A planned evacuation was aborted earlier today amid accusations Russian forces had bombed humanitarian corridors - despite agreeing to a seven hour ceasefire.

College lecturer Charlie Gilkerson, 68, went to a pickup point in the hope of being taken to safety.

But he says buses which were supposed to remove civilians from the combat zone were not there and the Russian aggression had not stopped.

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

Beverley, from Wakefield, West Yorks, is now desperately searching for options to bring Charlie, and wife Iryna, 58, 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.

Follow all of of today's news on the war in Ukraine as it unfolds with our live blog

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.”

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

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.

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.

A fire rages in Mariupol amid the Russian invasion (via REUTERS)

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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