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Alamy
World News

Salvation Army helps former Ukraine volunteer escape Russian invasion

by Kelly Valencia

A young Ukrainian woman and her mother are now living in Dublin after two Salvation Army officers helped them escape the Russian invasion.

Oleksandra Hromova,23, first arrived in Ireland in 2019 to volunteer with the church and charity during her gap year.

Captains Tim and Charlotte Lennox, the leaders of the Dublin City Corps where Hromova had volunteered previously, said they could not stop thinking about her wellbeing and that of another student, Alisa, who had also volunteered with them.

"We kept in touch the whole time," he said.

"The first thing we did was to phone them both to find out what was going on. We said quite early on, 'if you need to get out, just know there is a place for you to come to'.

"They are like our family and I couldn't get it out of my mind for days, I was worried sick.”

Although Alisa decided to stay in Ukraine, Hromova and her mother Yulia decided to embark on a 36-hour journey to get to Poland.

Once there, the pair took a plane to Dublin.

"I couldn't cope staying in Ukraine," Hromova told PA news agency.

"On the very first day of the war, I woke up to explosions, there were four really strong ones and our windows were shaking.

"I was so scared. I was just sitting in the corridor of my apartment, the sirens were going off and I decided I needed to leave," she continued.

Captains Tim and Charlotte Lennox said bringing them both to Dublin was not part of their outreach programme but “was simply about helping out a fellow church member at the most difficult point in her life."

Hromova is thankful to the Salvation Army as, without their help, she and her mother would not have been able to leave Ukraine. However, she hopes to return to Ukraine soon.

"I love Dublin but I don't want to stay here for 10 years. I really want to go home before the new year, but now, I'm not sure. I'm still afraid that when I go back, I will not feel like I'm in a safe place," she said.

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