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Ukrainian orphans to arrive in London on Monday on route to Scotland

The group of children, being cared for by the charity Dnipro Kids, fled the fighting in Ukraine.

21 March 2022

A group of Ukrainian orphans are due to arrive in the safety of the UK after fleeing the war in their home country.

The 50 young travellers, who range in age between two and 19, and their carers will fly from Poland to London, before making their way up to Scotland later in the week.

Home Secretary Priti Patel announced on Thursday that the youngsters, who are being cared for by the Scottish charity Dnipro Kids, which was set up by supporters of Edinburgh’s Hibernian Football Club,  had been given the green light to travel to Britain.

Steven Carr, the chairman of the charity who led the effort to evacuate the youngsters from Lviv in Ukraine, said they were “just thankful and relieved that we are getting the kids to the safety of the UK, and to Scotland, at last”.

He added: “We’ve known these children and their carers for many years, and when they said they wanted to get out we were determined to help.

“The assistance we have had from the other charities and organisations has been very important to us, and we wanted to place our thanks to them on the record.

“It is also very important to us to place our thanks on record to the UK Government and to the governments of both Ukraine and Poland for their help, understanding and assistance.”

He also praised the “unstinting work” of SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford, who raised the plight of the orphans in the Commons.

Mr Carr said the MP had “helped push things over the line and helped get things done”.

SNP Westminster Ian Blackford raised the orphans’ plight in the House of Commons (Isabel Infantes/PA)

The youngsters will spend Tuesday sightseeing in London, before heading to Scotland on Wednesday, where they will enjoy a welcome meal at Hibernian’s Easter Road stadium before heading to “the peace and quiet of rural Stirlingshire”.

Mr Carr said: “We hope at that stage we can let them get on with life.”

He also thanked the Scottish Government, local councils and other organisations who had “stepped up” to help the group.

“Without all the help we’ve received, this would have been an almost impossible task,” Mr Carr said.

Mr Blackford praised Dnipro Kids, which was set up in 2005 after football fans visited local orphanages when Hibernian played against the Ukrainian team Dnipro FC, for the “extraordinary and uplifting story”.

He added: “As a Hibs fan myself, this has been a source of great pride and I was delighted and privileged to help.

“It has been an at times arduous process but bringing these children to safety has been an absolute vindication of all the hard work.

“They will head to Scotland where I know they will be enveloped in warmth and welcome.”

Mr Blackford said: “Today is all about the Dnipro Kids.

“I am delighted beyond words that they will finally be here but I also hope this inspiring moment will be the start of a much bigger change that can ensure many more displaced children will also be able to find sanctuary in Scotland and the UK.”

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