Ukrainian mother who fled to UK becomes homeless in Michael Gove’s constituency – World News


Oleksandra Smirnova, 34, traveled to the UK with her son Leon, five, to stay with her sister-in-law but was deported to Michael Gove’s constituency for legal reasons

Oleksandra Smirnova with her son Leon
Oleksandra Smirnova with her son Leon

A mother who tied the knot to the sound of air raid sirens in Kyiv fled to the UK – only to be left homeless in the constituency of Housing Secretary Michael Gove.

Oleksandra Smirnova, 34, left with son Leon, five, and dog Azi.

Her DJ husband Anatoly Topolsky, 45, stayed behind in Ukraine and will go into battle any day.

The trio arrived in the UK on March 29 under the family visa scheme to stay with her sister-in-law in Frimley Green, Surrey, Mr Gove’s backyard.

But due to legal issues with background checks, her sister-in-law was forced to kick her out or she risked losing her job as a childminder.

Oleksandra’s husband stayed in Ukraine to fight


Oleksandra Smirnova)

After receiving little help from Surrey Heath Council, Oleksandra was forced to take Leon out of school and move 180 miles to stay with her sister-in-law’s friends in Lowestoft, Suffolk.

She told The Sunday Mirror: “The uncertainty is terrible. The period from March 29 to April 19 was the first time I stopped watching the daily news since the beginning of the war.

“I was able to calm down a bit, my son was at school … I felt comfortable for the first time in weeks.”

A destroyed school in the city of Bakhmut


AFP via Getty Images)

Surrey Heath eventually found a plot, but the owner refused to take her “without explanation”.

Oleksandra said: “Now I missed my only chance for a good place to stay.”

The council has since offered her a dormitory place 20 miles away.

In March, Mr Gove announced the Homes for Ukraine scheme, which gives refugee sponsors £350 a month.

Mr Gove announced the Homes for Ukraine program in March


AFP via Getty Images)

However, his department has been criticized for doing little to help the 20,800 people who have arrived under the family visa program so far.

Oleksandra, meanwhile, has been to Kyiv twice, including last week to swap rings with Anatoly.

She said, “I don’t know when I’ll see him again.”

The Department for Leveling Up, Housing & Communities has been contacted for comment.

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