Ukraine: Couple 'underestimated threat' before travelling – BBC


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A British man who travelled to Ukraine on the eve of the Russian invasion to support his partner has admitted they "clearly underestimated the threat".
Jez Myers, from Manchester, said he and journalist Maria Romanenko arrived in Kyiv on Wednesday after he "tried and failed" to get her to stay in Poland.
The couple have now fled the Ukrainian capital to the border near Lviv and are attempting to cross into Poland.
The 44-year-old said the atmosphere was "chaotic" and people were "tetchy".
Mr Myers, a business consultant, said Ms Romanenko had applied for a visa to come to the UK, but it had not come through by that time.
On 13 February, he told the Press Association that he had been due to return to Ukraine to meet up with Ms Romanenko, but had decided not to, saying it would be "naïve at best" to ignore the Foreign Office's advice not to travel.
Instead, the couple, who have been together for almost two years, met up in the Polish city of Gdansk.
After a nine-day break, Ms Romanenko decided to return to Kyiv.
"Maria is a proud Ukrainian journalist, [but] she clearly underestimated the threat and said that she wanted to return," he said.
"I tried and failed to convince her to stay in Poland."
He said that he did not support her decision, but was "put in a position of choosing to leave my partner to fend for herself or be there to support her if bad things happened".
The morning after they arrived in Ukraine, Russian forces launched a major assault, firing missiles on cities and military targets.
He said that meant enacting a plan they had made for if the worst happened and they quickly joined thousands of others driving from Kyiv to the border crossing near Lviv.
He said they drove for more than 10 hours, passing long queues at petrol stations and queuing for hours to refuel themselves, and since arriving, had been queuing at the border for about six hours.
"We are tired but, most importantly, safe," he said.
"That we are standing in the queue now is as a result of my contacts and contingency plans put in place."
However, he said he did not know how long it would be before they were able to cross into Poland.
"Whilst Poland may be metres away, it is also still hours away," he said.
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