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Princess of Wales meets displaced Ukrainians

2023-06-04 19:22:04 [Press center7] source:Reuters

The Princess of Wales said she was "overwhelmed" meeting Ukrainian families who have fled to the UK since the Russian invasion.

During her visit to the Ukrainian Community Centre in Reading, the princess heard from volunteers helping refugees to settle in Berkshire.

Their work includes educational classes for children as well as providing support with employment and housing.

Kate paid tribute to the "bravery" of the displaced families.

Galina Bolebrukh, 39, who arrived in the UK with her mother Iryne and three-year-old son Renat, wept as she told the princess how she fled Ukraine with her family and a few clothes.

The princess placed her hand and on her own heart and said: "I wish we could do more."

She told the mother, whose husband remained in Ukraine to fight the Russian invasion: "Everything you've experienced is so understandable."

On arrival, she was greeted by a group of officials led by the centre's chairman Antonio Gresko, and after receiving the traditional Ukrainian welcome gifts of bread and salt, she told the group the centre was "a lifeline".

She sympathised with a group of women, telling them: "It's still all going on and you have loved ones and family in Ukraine, they still see the horrors of war every day."

Kate said she was impressed by their "bravery", adding: "You're showing a resilience, I'm overwhelmed by how strong you all are."

Part of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB), the centre has been helping Ukrainians arriving in the UK since the start of the invasion.

The centre has also been involved in delivering medical and humanitarian aid to the frontline in Ukraine.

The princess heard how volunteers ran weekly coffee mornings to maintain a sense of community among the families.

She was told about the practical advice and support around topics such as employment and housing, as the displaced families settle into life in the UK.

The princess also joined children taking part in an art session.

The centre's art workshops help provide a way for the children to have fun, build friendships and express their emotions and experiences.

The princess praised the youngsters for their efforts and was left with blue and yellow paint - the national colours of Ukraine - on her hands.

The Princess of Wales met the first lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, at Buckingham Palace in September, ahead of the funeral service for Queen Elizabeth II.

Several visits over the past six months by the Prince and Princess of Wales have highlighted the plight of people in Ukraine and the support that communities and organisations across the UK have offered in response.

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(editor-in-charge:Press center8)

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