Briton trapped in Ukrainian city of Mariupol after evacuation bid canceled – World News

Charlie Gilkerson of Wakefield, West Yorks, and his wife Iryna remain in town while Ukrainian officials accuse Russians of bombing safe routes

Charlie Gilkerson and wife Iryna
Charlie Gilkerson and wife Iryna

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

A planned evacuation was called off early this morning as Russian forces were accused of bombing humanitarian corridors – despite agreeing to a seven-hour ceasefire.

College lecturer Charlie Gilkerson, 68, went to a pickup point hoping to be taken to safety.

But he says buses to take civilians out of the combat zone haven’t been there and Russian aggression hasn’t stopped.

He texted distraught daughter Beverley: “Definitely no truce! Nobody is there!”

Beverley, from Wakefield, West Yorks, is now desperately looking for options to bring Charlie and his wife Iryna, 58, back to the UK.

Her father, who is on an extended holiday in Ukraine, has limited access to essential blood pressure medication and cannot walk far.

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A block of flats in Mariupol damaged by shelling



Beverley, 37, said: “It’s like a bad dream that just won’t go away – and it’s getting worse by the day.

“My father was at one of the supposed pickup points, but there were no buses and no truce as far as he could tell.

‘He had to go home, but that’s all I know. He has to leave the apartment he lives in to get signal on his cell phone, so we’re only sending him what we know from the media when we see it.”

Splitting their time between the UK and Ukraine, Charlie and Iryna 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 since recovered from the virus but has been stranded as Russian forces have spent days bombing Mariupol, a port city in the south-east of the country.

In the midst of the Russian invasion, a fire rages in Mariupol



With no water, heating or electricity, Charlie and Iryna’s food supplies are quickly running out.

Beverley said: “Mariupol is huge, so when you see there’s been an attack you tell yourself it can’t be where it is – but then you just don’t know.

“It just means you don’t sleep because a lot of the activity happens throughout the night.

“We’re constantly checking WhatsApp to see when my dad was last active so we can literally see if he’s alive.

“It’s hard to keep going. Help cannot reach the people who need it.

“The hardest thing for me is thinking about him being cold and hungry.

We’re trying everything to get him out. We just want to get him and get his meds.”

Charlie and Iryna were shocked when Russian troops arrived despite weeks of speculation that war was imminent.

Beverley said: “The hardest thing for my father was that up until two weeks ago there was no sign of anything unforeseen happening.

“He really didn’t believe it — he almost thought it was just propaganda.”

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