My great escape… with my cat! Wheelchair-user and his beloved pet flee war-torn Ukraine

My great escape… with my cat! Wheelchair-user and his beloved pet flee war-torn Ukraine to safe haven as MailForce fund tops £9million

  • Vitaly, his fiancee Valentyna, her mother Svitlana and their cat Timosha come from the city of Chernihiv in northern Ukraine with help from Daily Mail readers
  • The family decided it was too risky to stay in Chernihiv as Vitaly couldn’t always join people sheltering from bombardments in underground refuge bases
  • Mail Force Ukraine Appeal was launched a month ago and has raised £9.1million

Some have fled the bombs while others have sheltered in bases, but when you have a disability, neither is an easy option.

For wheelchair user Vitaly, getting to safety came with added challenges – especially since he refused to leave his cat behind.

But he has now escaped from the hell of Ukraine, with help from the Red Cross, whose work is partly funded by donations from generous Daily Mail readers.

Vitaly, his fiancee Valentyna, her mother Svitlana and their cat Timosha come from the city of Chernihiv in northern Ukraine.

Ukrainian wheelchair-user Vitaly, his fiancee Valentyna her mother Svitlana and cat Timosha (pictured together in Italy) found refuge in Italy with the help of the Mail Force Ukraine Appeal which has raised £9.1million

They lived on the fifth floor but the electricity supply was cut, stopping the lifts from working.

While other residents sheltered from bombardments in the basement, Vitaly was not always able to join them, although sometimes kind neighbors would carry him to the underground refuge.

But with no water or heating, the family eventually decided it was too risky to stay in Chernihiv.

Humanitarian groups helped them to move to Kyiv, where they spent two days, before moving to Lviv in western Ukraine.

Firefighters putting out a fire after Russian missiles strikes to infrastructure including a fuel storage facility on the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on March 26

Firefighters putting out a fire after Russian missiles strikes to infrastructure including a fuel storage facility on the western Ukrainian city of Lviv on March 26

Ukrainian servicemen take cover behind a military armored vehicle as they walk towards the battlefield east of Kyiv

Ukrainian servicemen take cover behind a military armored vehicle as they walk towards the battlefield east of Kyiv

From there, the Red Cross organized transport for evacuation to Italy.

Millions of refugees, mostly women and children, have now fled Ukraine and are being given temporary new homes in countries across Europe.

The Mail Force Ukraine Appeal was launched a month ago and has raised £9.1million.

The first £500,000 came from a donation by DMGT, the Mail’s parent company, at the request of Lord and Lady Rothermere. Since then, donations have flooded in from readers, firms and philanthropists.

Stanley Solts, of Bromley, south-east London, wrote a check for £100, and wrote: ‘I was horrified to see the children in the shelter.

‘It reminded me of the time in my childhood when I was taken by my mother and grandparents to the London Tube to avoid the Blitz in 1940. Keep up the good works.’

The Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and MailOnline UKRAINE REFUGEE APPEAL

Readers of Mail Newspapers and MailOnline have always shown immense generosity at times of crisis.

Calling upon that human spirit, we are supporting a huge push to raise money for refugees from Ukraine.

For, surely, no one can fail to be moved by the heartbreaking images and stories of families – mostly women, children, the infirm and elderly – fleeing from Russia’s invading armed forces.

As this tally of misery increases over the coming days and months, these innocent victims of a tyrant will require accommodation, schools and medical support.

Donations to the Mail Force Ukraine Appeal will be used to help charities and aid organizations providing such essential services.

In the name of charity and compassion, we urge all our readers to give swiftly and generously.

TO MAKE A DONATION ONLINE

Donate at www.mailforcecharity.co.uk/donate

To add Gift Aid to a donation – even one already made – complete an online form found here: mymail.co.uk/ukraine

Via bank transfer, please use these details:

Account name: Mail Force Charity

Account number: 48867365

Spell code: 60-00-01

TO MAKE A DONATION VIA CHECK

Make your check payable to ‘Mail Force’ and post it to: Mail Newspapers Ukraine Appeal, GFM, 42 Phoenix Court, Hawkins Road, Colchester, Essex CO2 8JY

TO MAKE A DONATION FROM THE US

US readers can donate to the appeal via a bank transfer to Associated Newspapers or by sending checks to dailymail.com HQ at 51 Astor Place (9th floor), New York, NY 10003

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