A WOMAN from Penarth has arranged for more than 30 Ukrainians to come into the area for refuge from Putin’s sickening war.

Sian Fox, who runs the popular Foxy’s Café, on Victoria Road, was compelled to help after she watched in horror as the war broke out.

It comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made his first UK visit since Russia's invasion.

On February 8, Zelensky received a red carpet welcome, holding talks with the British prime minister in Downing Street, having an audience with King Charles, and making a speech to Parliament.

Back in Penarth, Sian doesn’t pull out the red carpet, but something much more important; a safe space for Ukrainians to live.

Sian was with her family when the war began.

“I was sitting with my mother,” said Sian. “It remined us of my mother’s sister, my aunt, who was displaced and had to flee London during WW2 when the Nazis were bombing.”

Sian’s daughter Carys was sceptical that her mother could do anything to help, but the next day Sian rang to tell her she had volunteered as a host.

Sian went on the UK wide Homes for Ukraine scheme and found Ukrainians who are looking for refuge, then contacted them through Facebook (often relying on Google Translate).

So far Sian hosts Yana and her son Kostia, who goes to Fairfield School, and is said to be picking up Welsh as well as English.

Sian also employs Yuri at her café. Yuri’s story is a hard one, his home city being the ill-fated Mariupol.

On February 24, Mariupol went through an infamous three month siege which largely destroyed the city. On May 16 Ukrainian troops who remained in the city surrendered at Azovstal Iron and Steel Works, with Russia securing complete control of the area.

Yuri questions whether he will ever go back, however he has managed to make south Wales his home, finding a flat in Barry.

Penarth Times:

(Sian with Yuri who may never return to Ukraine)

Penarth Times:

(On February 8, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made his first UK visit since Russia's invasion. Photo PA)

Sian has been so compelled to help that she set up the Facebook group Homes and help for Ukrainians – Penarth.

So far she has managed to get 20 people to join and share their living spaces in various houses around the town.

The first Ukrainians to arrive were two sisters with children back in May, and since then Ukrainians have been taking up refuge in the area monthly ever since.

Sian says it was absolutely the right thing for her to do, while Carys says she enjoys the Ukrainians company in their home.

“Mum was like the war is terrible and I was like you are not going to do anything about it and she rang back the next day and said I have just signed up to host Ukrainians,” explained Carys.

“I love the Ukrainians. We get on so well. I am so happy my mum did it in the end.”

If you wish to look into hosting Ukranians you can go through the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s scheme Support for Ukraine at valeofglamorgan.gov.uk/en/our_council/Support-for-Ukraine.aspx.