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OPEN ARMS: Ukrainian family thanks Abbots Langley community for warm welcome into village

 Published on: 25th April 2022   |   By: Holly Bullen   |   Category: Uncategorized

A Ukrainian family who were forced to flee the country amidst the Russian invasion have thanked the Abbots Langley community for their support.

Steve Asplin, who had lived in Kyiv for the past 10 years, fled the country to Turkey in February surrounding fears of the Russian invasion.

He was then forced to remain in Turkey for more than a month after a Visa which should’ve taken 24 hours took six weeks.

He and his family were then forced to wait in Turkey for more than a month after the family’s visas, which were supposed to be expedited, instead took six weeks to process.

Now Steve has moved into rented accommodation with his partner in the village and said he couldn’t have received a warmer welcome.

Speaking to AbbotsNews, he said: “We just really want to say thank you to the people who have been so supportive of us coming here, for us when we saw the flag in the centre of the village it made a huge difference.

“It gave us such a welcoming feeling.”

Before moving last month, Steve, who has also previously lived in New Zealand, has been forced to leave behind his business, friends and daily life.

He said: “The hardest thing is that you build your life and you think you’ve got everything sorted and then the rug gets pulled out from underneath you. It’s a bit of a shock.

“We are getting our things sent over but with your business it’s emotional when you’ve got everything from set up.”

Steve added that it has been hard to watch the continual updates from Ukraine on the news and said he is regular contact with friends in the city.

He said: “When we heard about it, we spent two weeks just watching our phones, constantly watching the news from Ukraine.

“There have been some really hard moments, we have a parent’s group for my son’s class and there was a mother saying she was stuck in the basement with no food and water.

“This is someone you know and are connected to.”

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