Phyllis McDonagh has offered a home to four Ukrainians who fled Kharkiv in northeast Ukraine before moving west across the continent to the Republic of Ireland
A kind-hearted granny opened her house to four Ukrainians who fled the war.
Irish Phyllis McDonagh has an apron that says ‘World’s Greatest Hostess’ in her kitchen.
As refugees fled war-torn Ukraine, it seemed inevitable that the 87-year-old would help.
Since the invasion began, four Ukrainians have found a new home in their Dublin home.
Viktoria Kasianenko, 39, was driven to the capital with her four-year-old daughter Barbara Yevlakhova and stepdaughter Anna Yevlakhova, 32, to her husband Yury, 58.
Yury has been in Dublin since September and works as a watchmaker for Mrs McDonagh’s son.
Within five days they traveled from the bombed city of Kharkiv in the northeast to Lviv in the west.
From there they moved to Poland and then across the rest of the continent to the Republic of Ireland, where 7,000 Ukrainian refugees have now found refuge.
The family had to leave relatives and friends at home, including Viktoria’s father.
“From the first days the bombs fell and we heard the shots,” said Viktoria.
Like thousands of others, the trio were forced to hide in basements as soon as sirens began wailing to announce incoming Russian shelling.
“We were like that for a few days,” she said.
“One morning we woke up and decided … we were in the basement and decided we couldn’t do it anymore.”
The three went to a train station to flee, but found it “completely full”.
Viktoria said: “We didn’t manage to get on the train and then we decided to sleep at the station and just find a way to get out of there.”
From Poland, a Scotswoman, criss-crossing the continent to help Ukrainian refugees, drove them all the way to Ireland.
Although they are safe now, Viktoria and Anna struggle to describe their fear for their country.
“First of all, of course, we’re glad they’re in a safe place now,” said Viktoria.
“And we are very grateful to the family for welcoming us to Ireland now. We can feel the support from everyone, from all family members.
“We are sad and there are no words to describe how we feel because we left absolutely everything there.
“No one knows what to expect and when we can withdraw.
“Of course, the first and most important wish is to return to Ukraine and see our family, friends and relatives. But nobody knows what to expect.”
Barbara, who doesn’t go to school yet, is adjusting to her new surroundings.
Viktoria believes that the youngster has aged a decade since the war began on February 24.
“She understands everything and watches the news. She understands what’s going on and why we left,” she said.
The family are grateful to Ireland for the help and say the government is doing all they can.
While Anna and Viktoria say they want to work and live, the next few weeks are full of uncertainty.
“In the near future we would like to be able to rent out our own apartments so that we are not breathing down people’s necks,” said Viktoria.
The plan is to create “normal life” in Ireland and be ready to return to Ukraine whenever it is safe.
Ms McDonagh is in no rush to see her guests leave, although they communicate via an app due to the lack of a common language.
The Dublin native has six children, 17 grandchildren and was home to French and Spanish students in earlier years.
“It’s great,” she said of the family’s reception.
“The way I feel about it, if my kids were over there, wouldn’t you love someone to take care of them?”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/kind-hearted-grandma-opens-home-26510686 Kind-hearted grandma opens her home to Ukrainian family escaping war with Russia - World News