The horror of war in Ukraine outlined first-hand in talk to Kirkham Rotarians

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Kirkham Rotarians were enthralled at hearing of the exploits in war-torn Ukraine of two enterprising women.

Zoe Barker-Moss now runs an interior design business in Lytham but lived in Ukraine for 17 years and Russia for three years.

While living in Ukraine, her house was raided and taken away from her on two occasions by criminal gangs. She managed to get it back and has since lost it again at the start of the war with Russia.

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Olga Borysenko, a former criminal investigator for the police in Kyiv, is now a Ukrainian refugee, having fled from her home with her mother and daughter. They now live with Zoe in Lytham. Olga helped to build a criminal case to help Zoe protect her house.

Olga Borysenko (left) and Zoe Barker-Moss with Kirkham Rotary president Richard Bell.Olga Borysenko (left) and Zoe Barker-Moss with Kirkham Rotary president Richard Bell.
Olga Borysenko (left) and Zoe Barker-Moss with Kirkham Rotary president Richard Bell.

“Olga movingly described her ordeal from the start of the Russian invasion when her husband, a police officer was given a Kalashnikov rifle and told to go and defend his country,” said Kirkham Rotary spokesman Paul Leeson.

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“With her husband on full alert and busy, and her three-year-old daughter in the care of Olga’s mother in the Carpathian mountain area where they were relatively safe, Olga decided to leave Kyiv, where her home was close to a military base and vulnerable to attack.

"The only route was an evacuation train back from Kyiv towards the Romanian border.

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"Thousands of people were trying to leave, there was no food to buy and what little people had in the carriage they gave to a large group of orphaned children.

“The train was fired on its journey but after 12 hours they reached their destination.

"Olga took refuge in a hospital then the following day was reunited with her mother and daughter..

“They waited on the Romanian border for two months for their visas to come to England.

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“Olga now has applied to UCLAN to study International Relations and her daughter goes to playgroup one day a week and is picking up English. Her mother, a head nurse for 15 years, has found some work in a fish and chip shop.

Mr Leeson said it was a fascinating talk which really brought home the reality of what Ukrainians gave been through and are still going through.

Zoe has charities running to help those left in Ukraine. Details are here.

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