Clun woman fears for elderly and pregnant relatives in Ukraine as fighting intensifies
A Clun woman is fearing for her family in a Ukrainian city after the region was hit by Russian missiles and shelling.
Lisa Beznosiuk - who divides her time with her husband between Clun and London where they teach music - has an elderly aunt who lives in the city of Rivne, between Kyiv and Lviv, with her son and granddaughter who is 34-weeks-pregnant.
Fighting has intensified in the Rivne area in the last week, with Russian forces hitting the city's military training ground with two missiles and a television tower being destroyed.
The Shropshire Star reported recently how Lisa recorded the sound of church bells in Clun village and sent them to her aunt Olya - who visited the village over 20 years ago - in the hope of comforting her. She also gave a talk at the Soup and Puds event which raised £5,000 for the Ukrainian appeal
Since then Lisa has confirmed she has had some calls and texts from Olya, who is reluctant to leave her home, and would struggle to travel due to her age.
She said: "Her son is helping to look after her whilst also trying to defend the town - it is a desperate situation. Until a couple of days ago things in Rivne were relatively quiet, but two nights ago the bombing and fires got closer.
"Olya's granddaughter Elizaveta is 34 weeks pregnant and wants to escape as soon as possible, but has never left Ukraine and doesn't have an international passport or visa, though she wouldn't need these to get into Poland because of the generosity of the government there and the citizens who live there who are offering lifts and help for refugees.
"In fact we are in daily touch with relatives in Poland who are helping as best they can. But nobody can believe things have come to this and I think a certain disbelief, coupled with sheer fear and reluctance to leave home and family has slowed down the painful business of leaving."
Lisa, who runs Clun Valley Music with husband Richard Tunnicliffe and also teaches at the Royal College of Music in London during the week, has a family history of relatives escaping conflict including from the second world war.
She said: "The situation changes every day - sometimes every few hours, so travel options one day will have disappeared by the next.
"But we hope to persuade Elizaveta to escape before it is too late."