Ballincollig-based businesswoman describes attempts to flee Ukraine to return to Cork

The woman left Kyiv last Thursday and is trying to get home. 
Ballincollig-based businesswoman describes attempts to flee Ukraine to return to Cork

Beauty therapist Vika left Kyiv on Thursday with her friend and her friend’s 11-year-old boy as the Russian military started bombing the capital. Picture via RedFM.

A BALLINCOLLIG-BASED businesswoman, originally from Ukraine, who found herself in her native land at the start of the Russian invasion, has spoken of her attempts to flee the country to return to Cork.

Since Thursday, Vika and her friend have been sharing the driving to the Polish border moving at an agonisingly slow pace due to the “thousands of cars on the roads”. Picture via RedFM.
Since Thursday, Vika and her friend have been sharing the driving to the Polish border moving at an agonisingly slow pace due to the “thousands of cars on the roads”. Picture via RedFM.

Beauty therapist Vika left Kyiv on Thursday with her friend and her friend’s 11-year-old son as the Russian military started bombing the capital.

Since then, Vika and her friend have been sharing the driving to the Polish border, moving at an agonisingly slow pace due to the “thousands of cars on the roads”.

“We’re sleeping in the car, eating in the car; basically living in the car for five days,” Vika said, speaking on The Neil Prendeville Show on RedFM yesterday.

Beauty therapist Vika left Kyiv on Thursday with her friend and her friend’s 11-year-old boy as the Russian military started bombing the capital. Picture via RedFM.
Beauty therapist Vika left Kyiv on Thursday with her friend and her friend’s 11-year-old boy as the Russian military started bombing the capital. Picture via RedFM.

She said motorists have been instructed to avoid major roads and to take smaller, rural roads in a bid to avoid military action.

They only managed to travel 5km on Sunday, such was the volume of traffic on the roads, Vika explained.

She paid tribute to local people, who had been offering them food and refusing to take any money.

“They’re like angels,” she said. “They say don’t pay, just pray.”

On their journey so far, Vika said they had seen and heard explosions and on one occasion a rocket flew just above the car in which they were travelling.

She said in the first few days they were “very afraid”, but days of little sleep have meant exhaustion is now the predominant feeling.

“Now we are really tired and I think our brains are paused,” she said.

When asked how she feels for her country, Vika said she felt “very sorry” for Ukraine.

“Our president is really surprising everyone. People were thinking he would run away but he is fighting.

“He is not sleeping. He has guns. He has weapons. He is fighting on the streets and doing everything, like every single Ukrainian man. I have friends who left their businesses, they took guns and they have gone to protect their country.”

Vika said she hoped to reach the Polish border by this afternoon at the latest.

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