Businessman John Caudwell and former Olympian Modesta Vzesniauskaite have joined a string of high-profile figures offering their homes to Ukrainian refugees.
The couple said the situation of those involved in the conflict was “incomprehensible” as they launched a campaign to encourage other wealthy individuals to help.
Talking to Hello! Magazine, Ms Vzesniauskaite, who was born in Lithuania, also shared memories of “fear and trauma” from her childhood and the Soviet Union’s attempts to occupy her country on Bloody Sunday 1991.
“I am heartbroken for the people whose lives have been destroyed,” said Mr Caudwell, who is offering his detached two-bedroom Coach House on the grounds of his Staffordshire mansion to refugees.
“Imagine yourself in this situation … you have no home and the fear of death and being assassinated in the streets is constant.
Sympathizing with the young victims of the violence, Ms Vzesniauskaite said: “I know the fear and trauma that children and families in Ukraine are going through.
“It’s a feeling of terror I’ll never forget.
“On Friday, January 11, 1991, when I was eight years old, an alarm rang at school and a teacher said, ‘Hurry home! The Russians are coming to occupy Lithuania.’
“I was scared and ran so fast. For three days, my family sat terrified at home.
“The Russian soldiers passed through my city to take the capital, Vilnius, and many people were killed. But thank God Lithuania found freedom two days later.”
Ms Vzesniauskaite was in Lithuania to visit her ailing father when the Russian invasion began and said as soon as she returned home she urged her husband to help those displaced by the conflict.
“When I see these mothers who had to leave their husbands to fight for their country and are now trying to protect their children, I can feel their pain and how scared they must be because they don’t know what will happen tomorrow.” , she continued.
“When I got home I said, ‘John, we have to do something. We have to help.’”
Oscar-nominated actor Benedict Cumberbatch and Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer are among other well-known figures in Britain hoping to take in Ukrainian refugees.
For the full interview with Mr. Caudwell and Ms. Vzesniauskaite, see Hello!
https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/john-caudwell-and-modesta-vzesniauskaite-offer-their-home-to-ukrainian-refugees-41469060.html John Caudwell and Modesta Vzesniauskaite offer their homes to Ukrainian refugees