A PENARTH resident whose daughter is saving lives in war-torn Ukraine says she is constantly praying for her safety.

Svetlana Studinskaya's daughter Julia, 23, is a medical student in Kharkiv in the North East of Ukraine - and has stayed in her home city to drive ambulances to help save civilians harmed by the Russian attack.

When the fighting began two weeks ago Julia refused her mother's pleas to leave the city as she felt she needed to help civilians whose lives have been shattered by the conflict.

Ms Studinskaya has only recently returned from Ukraine herself and is in constant contact with her daughter and friends and colleagues who have not been able to leave the country.

"It's just hour by hour, so anything can can happen," said Ms Studinskaya.

"It's just constant bombing, people are in despair and they have no food.

"I've been begging her (Julia) to leave, but she doesn't want to.

"A lot of people working on ambulances have left, so she thinks it is necessary to stay and help."

Julia is having to live in the hospital she works in after bombing destroyed her apartment, while others, while many others who have had their homes destroyed are now living in underground shelters.

Others who are too old or infirm to leave their homes rely on supplies delivered by volunteers and pray that a bomb will not land on their house.

After hearing from her daughter what is happening in Kharkiv and seeing images on the news, Ms Studinskaya spoke of her how helpless she feels.

She said: "I feel awful, I feel completely helpless - I just can't do anything.

"I just wish for her (Julia) to be here.

"It's awful what's happening and we don't understand why it's happening.

"Kharkiv was a rich city, a European city and now it is just ruined."

Food and medical supplies are desperately needed in the city, as the hospital supplies are dwindling.

Food and water are needed the most for civilians caught up in the conflict, but it is difficult to get supplies over there.

Most donations are headed for refugee camps on the border of Ukraine, but few are able to get into cities, with the exception of the Red Cross.

Kharkiv, Ukraine's second largest city, is located close to the border with Russia.

Ms Studinskaya has familial ties with Russia and has friends and colleagues from the country that she has been in contact with.

She said: "Some Russian people just don't believe what's happening in Ukraine, probably because they don't have information.

"But they will know.

"I feel very, very sorry for Russia, for their people and for Ukrainian people.

"We just should stop killing each other because it's stupid, it's nonsense."

Some details from this article, such as Julia's name, have been removed at the request of the family for her safety.