Dad worried he will be "meat bag" after being enlisted in Ukraine on ski trip

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A dad of two who took his family on a skiing trip before war broke out has been told he must stay in Ukraine leaving him worried he will turn into a "meat bag."

Tymofi Dmytrenko took his wife and two children on a skiing holiday to Ukraine when Russia started to invade the country.

Since then, he has been told he cannot leave as he is placed on standby to join the country's military.

The IT specialist known amongst his friends and colleagues as Tim said he only intended to be in Ukraine for 10 days as he and his family left their home in Leeds to hit the slopes and visit his parents but when US President Joe Biden announced the threat of invasion they attempted to flee the country.

The 39-year-old managed to help his wife Iryna, 36, and his two children, 11 and 15, cross the border into Slovakia, he is unable to leave his home country Ukraine due to Martial Law.

Martial Law means that men between the ages of 18 and 60 are banned from leaving the country and asked to join the army, Wales Online reports.

Mr Dmytrenko said he fears he will become a "meat bag" if he is put into active combat. “I think I am ready to serve my country, but I have mixed feelings.

“I have never held a gun or shot from it, and I don’t have any real military experience. I feel like without any proper training I’m kind of a meat bag at this moment in time, and this is worrying. I don’t know how these things will progress.

He added: “It’s still a shock to many people here. We still don’t understand that this can be happening in the middle of Europe, next to the European Union.

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Mr Dmytrenko, who has lived in Leeds since 2015, said his family's holiday plans quickly unravelled within days of arriving in Kyiv on February 18.

After a couple of days in the capital they travelled to a ski resort, where – amid escalating tensions – they bought plane tickets to fly out from Lviv in western Ukraine on February 25.

However, this backup plan also failed when Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to launch a full-scale invasion on February 24. The family decided to head towards Uzhhorod, a city on Ukraine's western border with Slovakia.

“We spent roughly four hours queuing for fuel because when the taxi came to us, its tank was nearly empty", Mr Dmytrenko said. "The queues were absolutely massive.

“When we came to Uzhhorod, we then waited for a bus for two hours with our kids. The estimated arrival time was 11:30 pm, but it didn’t come.”

The family stayed overnight at a friend's apartment in a nearby town before booking bus tickets to travel across the border the following morning. Due to martial law, Mr Dmytrenko had to stay behind.

“I put my wife and kids on that bus at 4 pm, and it was a heart-breaking moment for me and my family", he said. “Everyone was crying, my kids were crying, my wife was crying.

"I wasn’t able to stop crying for a few hours after that. But luckily, they got through the border."

One million refugees fled Ukraine in the first week of the war, the UN refugee agency estimates. Some 79,000 were received by Slovakia, including Mr Dmytrenko's family, with more than 500,000 entering neighbouring Poland.

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  • Vladimir Putin
  • Military
  • Family
  • Russia
  • Russia Ukraine war

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