tv BBC Wales Investigates BBC News May 12, 2022 1:30am-2:00am BST
i just saw a video. my friend from school, their apartment was destroyed. herfriend is finding out with her children amongst the ruins of mariupol. will they make it out to the safety of friends in wales? those with loved ones there are desperate to bring them here. they said, "keep trying, keep trying." how many times do i try? as thousands offer their homes, are too many still waiting? it's been a long journey for the roberts family from ukraine to north wales.
it's taken weeks and thousands of miles. gareth and wife, natasha, went to rescue her daughter, angelina, and granddaughter, albina, to bring them back to trawsfynydd. now refugees, they know they're amongst the lucky ones. how are you, natasha? indistinct. father, mother, killed. terrible. russia should not kill children. killed. sorry. albina wants to tell her dad, vova, that she's arrived. ukrainian men have been asked to stay behind to help defend the country.
suddenly, there'd another siren. siren wails over phone. that's in your home? apartment. also in street. bomb warnings are broadcast on tv to warn of incoming attacks. explosion. it's a far cry from their old life in the country they've left behind. angelina and vova ran their own property business. albina dreamt
of becoming a lawyer. life was good until war came. as the russians invaded, angelina and albina took their dog and a few belongings before leaving vova and heading for wales. a last kiss from her dad. she doesn't know when she'll hug him again. i said, "please, finish the war." millions have headed out of ukraine in search of safety. angelina and albina had
to drive across the country and over the border to slovakia to apply for visas to allow them to come to wales as refugees. the uk government has promised to open doors and give sanctuary to people fleeing ukraine, but the families we've been following feel that the visa system is anything but straightforward. i'm going to see a welsh—ukrainian family who settled in caernarfon. they have friends and family trapped in ukraine. nataliia, from kyiv, married a man from north wales. they're raising their young
son and daughter here. when war started, mum was calling me and saying, "is anybody coming to help us?" "is nobody coming?" and then she said, "i just want to say goodbye." nataliia's mother, ludmila, and stepfather, sacha, live in eastern ukraine, which has seen amongst the worst bombardments. as things escalated, nataliia begged them to come to wales. thousands were fleeing the region. but to do that, they'd have to leave her elderly grandparents behind. my grandfather looking after my grandmother now. she can't take care of herself, can't feed herself, can't get up on herown.
it was a very hard decision for my mother to leave him there. very, very hard. not knowing if or when they'd return, they boarded a train for poland. that train was so full. and there were so many people who didn't fit, and theyjust closed the doors. i remember, i was calling mum and she said, "we are in, "we're all in." i said, "ok, good." half an hour later... and then, half an hour, "we're still here." "why you still there? "why you didn't move?" she said, "because people are just going under the train, "lying on the rails and saying, "if we have to die, we better do it here than from russian army."" pure desperation. they were heading for warsaw, where nataliia and the family went to wait for them.
finally, they spot them. weeping. ludmila and sacha were able to come to wales because they already had short—term visitor visas but to stay, they'll have to apply for refugee status. how is it to have mum here, finally, safely in caernarfon? it feels good, but because it's just my mum here with me, what we feel sorry about about what we feel guilty and upset is my grandparents, who are still in ukraine. nataliia is also desperately waiting for news from one of her closest friends, julia. she's trapped in mariupol
with her three young daughters. i just saw the video which my friend from school, julia, she sent to me. the bombing and shooting at night, it's day—bright. she took that video and then ran to hide. explosion. in a communal bunker, julia tries to distract the girls from the horrors unfolding above them. singing softly. they're hiding amongst these ruins on the run in their own city, which is under relentless attack. julia has been keeping a video diary.
water was so, so tasty. and then they found some pants to fill with water so they could...live longer. nataliia and dewy are trying to find a way to bring them to caernarfon through the ukraine sponsorship scheme. julia is alone with the girls. her husband, a soldier, is fighting on the front line. and as they hid, their home was hit. julia went back to film the destruction. they'd lost everything. their apartment was destroyed, totally destroyed. bed was just by the window and they were luckily not
sleeping in that bed when shooting happened. are they getting out or are theyjust going to die there? nataliia was trying to find the fastest route out of ukraine forjulia and the girls. it had taken weeks for gareth and natasha to rescue their loved ones. in march, i travelled with them from north wales, across europe to slovakia, to look for their family. we head to a refugee crossing point to look for angelina and albina. hello! you're safe now, 0k? remember?
next morning, still in slovakia, gareth has to begin organising visas to bring them to wales. and he says it's already proving difficult. i'm in a situation where i made an application several days ago. but ijust simply could not get an appointment, and they said, "keep trying, keep trying." how many times do i try? albina is missing her dad.
albina and her mum may not be in danger, but they are in limbo until they can get visas. in caernarfon, nataliia's mum and stepdad are exploring their new surroundings. ludlina is struggling with the decision. how did you cope with that decision? it's heartbreaking. she feels like she betrayed him. but she's trying to support, she's trying to explain him, "dad, you take care."
while we're filming, there's a call. it'sjulia, who's been trapped in mariupol. jul! speaks in ukranian. "it's nice to see you." oh, it is nice to see you, i am so glad that you are safe. it's the first time she's been able to call in weeks. she's stayed in a basement. there was no shower, no toilets, no electricity. they had some food, or somebody was stealing from supermarkets and giving to them.
the kids were asking for food so much. that why she try to feed them at times, so they don't feel forfood so bad. julia's video diaries show things are going from bad to worse for her and the girls. her middle daughter had become ill. yulia has to leave the children while she looks for water amongst the ruins.
but it's the sights of war which are leaving their mark on them. she did seee dead people in mariupol, ones who were killed by rockets, who had no hands, no legs, whose bodies were destroyed. they were putting those pieces together and burying them. she feels sorry that she couldn't bury them because she just turned around and left. julia left mariupol when a humanitarian corridor was offered by the russians. so, they started to move out of the city, and city was just destroyed. the driver who lived there couldn't recognise for where to go. he didn't know which way
ukrainian children have been displaced by this war. gareth and his family are stuck in europe, staying in hotels and with friends because they haven't been able to sort out the visas. they've made it to prague. this country is ukraine. this, ukrainian girl. are you still having school? are your friends online as well? one of my classmates in poland. and one classmate in france. gareth, where are you at now with the visas? it wasn't easy. i went to the british embassy and they said you have to do it online.
we had to scan and upload documents. very clear message, we must get approval before we try to enter the uk. but because we've got some contacts here, we're in a better position than the majority. albina, what do you think of all this? i want visa because i want to visit us now. a few days later, there's news. visa! oh, yes! super, super, super! gareth could finally bring his family home to wales. bye, prague!
they were amongst the lucky ones. bythe end of march, more than 70% were still waiting for visas. nataliia's mum and stepdad are settling in, but officially, they are still tourist and not yet refugees. without this visa, they cannot work. it's difficult now because they are proud people, they feel like they're a burden. until they become refugees, they face restrictions. she can't register. to the bank. we can't do anything. in march, 10,000 people across wales were offering to house ukrainian refugees, but with millions of people
pouring over the border, by the end of last month, the home office had only issued 2,300 visas. when we asked them how many ukrainian refugees had actually arrived here in wales, the welsh government couldn't tell us. they insist they have asked for the data, but have been told it's unavailable. the home office told us it's working as fast as it can to provide that information. gareth�*s family are getting to know their way around. my mother, my daughter, my name is angelina.
it's blue and yellow, ukrainian colours. albina has a medical condition, which needs specialist treatment, she hasn't had it due to the war. gareth is trying to register them with a local surgery. next, they apply for a place at the local school. "is the child currently attending a school?" no. "current school? " how are you feeling about going to a new school? i'm happy, but little nervous. of course you're nervous. i not very well know english. your children, your classmates. things are settling for albina's family, but for many others, there's still confusion and delays when it comes to getting the right visa. the home office told us that
more than 86,000 visas have been granted under various schemes. it's simply finding the forms and boosting staff members so that applications can be processed more quickly. nataliia has been hoping that julia and her girls can come to north wales as refugees. after escaping by train, they managed to board a minibus with others to cross the border to safety in poland. hello, julia! how are the children, how are your daughters? are they happy, are they well?
it's a proud day for her mum. fantastic. before, i nervous, but when i visit the school, i happy. nataliia's mum and stepdad have finally given permission to stay in wales as refugees. butjulia and the girls haven't yet made it. they're still in poland, where she's been given a home, found a job and the
girls are in school. i would love to have her here. i was dreaming that she would be here, that one day we would have a cup of tea in our dining room all together, and they can see our life here, and they can have more happy life. ijust would love it. for now, they have a safe place to call home, but theirjourney is far from over.
hello. thursday gets off to a largely fine start. a little on the cool side for early risers. there will be lots of early sunshine. clouds going to increase everywhere, not everywhere will get some rain. there'll be a few showers around in northern ireland, there'll be outbreaks of rain pushing into northwest scotland more widely across the western side of scotland later in the day. some patchy rain pushing further east across scotland. wales, southwest england, amongst the sunny spells, seeing 1—2 showers in the afternoon. elsewhere, though, through england and wales, staying mainly dry on what will be a warmer—feeling day with the sunny spells. northern areas further patchy rain on into thursday night. on friday, it's really across the northern half of scotland we'll see cloud and outbreaks of rain. the day gets off to a milder start. the rain continues on and off in northern scotland. there'll be cloud elsewhere in scotland, parts of northern england, and northern ireland. it's wales and the southern half of england tha twill see the lion's share of friday sunshine, and it will feel a bit warmer as a result. it'll be quite a windy day, though, particularly in scotland, northern ireland, and northern england. gusty winds, warmer, more humid at the weekend.
welcome to bbc news, i'm nuala mcgovern. welcome to bbc news, i'm nuala mcgovern. our top stories: our top stories: guns that you can hear. explosion explosion we're on the frontline of war we're on the frontline of war in ukraine, near kharkiv in ukraine, near kharkiv where despite, ukrainian where despite, ukrainian advances, the threat of russian advances, the threat of russian fire is constant. fire is constant. every inch of ground here, every inch of ground here, every mile gives their city every mile gives their city respite from the russian respite from the russian
guns that you can hear. in the us, republican senators block a democrat bill which aimed to preserve women's right to abortion nationwide. it was put to a vote ahead of a key supreme court ruling. sri lanka's president vows to give up most of his executive powers, but stops short of resigning over the country's economic crisis. broadcaster al—jazeera accuses the israeli military of deliberately targeting journalists, after one of its best known correspondents, shireen abu