Ukraine war: This skating star and her mother fled Kiev for the UK – now they risk returning home | World news | Daily News Byte

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A seven-year-old Ukrainian figure skater who fled the war to live with a host family in Bristol has returned home.

Gosha Mandzyuk and her mother Irina arrived in the UK in April 2022 under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

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After appearing on Sky NewsDancing on Ice star Matt Evers Arriving to help train Gosha, who competed at the national level back home and was also part of the ice hockey team

Now he and Irina have made the difficult decision to return to Kiev.

“We are happy, we enjoy being at home even in these difficult and difficult times,” said Irina.

“For us exactly, this is the right decision. Because Gosha was crying, sometimes sad, because he was separated from his father.

“He was worried when he would see her again, maybe he would already be an adult – so it made him sad.

“When we arrived, it took us, me, probably more than a month to adapt. It sounds strange, but I really needed time to adapt again in my home, in my home, because we had so many changes.

“The city looked a little gloomy, you could tell war was in the air.”

A 7-year-old Ukrainian ice-figure skater who fled the war to live with a host family in Bristol has returned home.  Gosha Mandzyuk and her mother Irina arrived in the UK in April 2022 under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
A 7-year-old Ukrainian ice-figure skater who fled the war to live with a host family in Bristol has returned home.  Gosha Mandzyuk and her mother Irina arrived in the UK in April 2022 under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.
Image:
A seven-year-old competes nationally back home

‘They are part of us now’

Despite the threat of missiles and frequent power cuts, Gosha has managed to resume a full training schedule at his local ice rink.

Irina said: “We are now in a normal regime – we train three to five full days per week. Usually three lessons per day.

‚ÄúVery soon [after returning] We were already in the skating rink with all our coaches and the big team, and we started slowly. It was difficult because it was a long break.”

The couple lived with their host family in Bristol for four months, and say they continue to keep in touch.

“I think they are part of us now, not like friends,” said Irina.

“When I think of them or we communicate in Messenger, it’s like relatives. Like an aunt or uncle.”

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‘We want to come back’

Irina says she hopes they can return to England under different circumstances.

“We want to come as tourists,” she said.

“If we have peace I want to see them in Kiev, and they will want to come, for I know they like to travel a lot. Gosha wants to go again in the summer.”

Although relieved to be back with family, Irina admits that life in the capital can be difficult.

“We understood the risk,” she said. “When we are back now the risk is greater. Is it our decision. Some people cannot live in such conditions, such fear, such anxiety.

“I really don’t want to go anywhere. We live not in fear, but always in worry. The level of anxiety is very high. But I don’t have the energy to go somewhere because it’s also difficult, and you need energy for this.

“At home, we are quiet because we are all together.”

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