Moseley woman describes frightening ordeal her family face in war-torn Ukraine

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Caroline Orlowska’s family were forced to seek shelter once bombing started in their hometown

A Ukrainian woman who lives in Moseley has revealed the heartbreaking situation her family are facing back home.

Caroline Orlowska says her uncle’s wife and two daughters have had to flee the family’s war-torn hometown of Kharkiv after it was bombed by the Russians.

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Once his family were safe in Romania, Caroline’s uncle Alexander Orlowski returned to his hometown to fight.

Heavy Russian artillery and air strikes have focused on Kharkiv, as well as the cities of Kyiv, Mariupol and Chernihiv since Russian President Vladimir Putin chose to invade Ukraine.

Once the bombing started at the beginning of the month (March) in Kharkiv - which is located in the northeast of Ukraine, about 20 miles from the Russian border - the family were force to leave home for safety.

Alexander’s family, including his wife and two young daughters, had to take shelter in a school for six days once the bombing started Alexander’s family, including his wife and two young daughters, had to take shelter in a school for six days once the bombing started
Alexander’s family, including his wife and two young daughters, had to take shelter in a school for six days once the bombing started | Caroline

“They didn’t target the military buildings, they went straight for civilian buildings”

Kharkiv is the second largest city in Ukraine.

It has a population of 1.4 million people, although many have, of course, had to flee west.

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Caroline, who was born in Ukraine and also grew up in Kharkiv, described her family’s desperate struggle to get into Romania.

Speaking to BirminghamWorld, she said: “My uncle and his wife have two daughters, and when the bombing started they had to hide and leave their homes so they went into shelter in a nearby school where they stayed for two days.

“Later they hid underneath the cellar at their house for four nights, which was really hard as it doesn’t have any windows.

“When the bombing started everyone was really shocked that they didn’t target the military buildings, but instead they went straight for civilian buildings where there is nothing but residential belongings.

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Caroline OrlowskaCaroline Orlowska
Caroline Orlowska | Caroline Orlowska

“Then it (bombing) got so bad, they knew they had to escape - so my uncle took the car and drove for three days to get to the Romanian border.

“He had to go along the roads so carefully because it’s not safe anywhere, so he had to make sure to avoid the Russian army and hope there were no tanks around.”

Caroline said Alexander managed to get his family through at the Romanian border, and they have now managed to get to Holland where they have been offered a charity refugee programme - but Alexander returned to Ukraine to help.

“Alexander said to me ‘I’m coming back to help out as much as I can, but first I need to sleep because I’ve been up almost three days.’”

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Alexander’s wife and two daughters Alexander’s wife and two daughters
Alexander’s wife and two daughters | Caroline

Caroline said Alexander is even uncertain whether his family home is still standing.

“At the moment we hope his home is still there, but we don’t know because a good few houses in that area have been destroyed.”

She added: “It’s been awful, absolutely horrendous, because you feel so helpless.

“You don’t know what to do and you’re extremely anxious.”

Caroline, her son and her boyfriend Ed  Caroline, her son and her boyfriend Ed
Caroline, her son and her boyfriend Ed | Carolie

Fundraiser in Moseley

Caroline, who works as a book-keeper and an art agent in Moseley, has arranged two events in Birmingham to raise some money for the UNICEF Ukraine Appeal.

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A children’s art exhibition and charity auction called Young Artists for Ukraine will take place on Saturday (12 March) at St Agnes Church Hall in Moseley, and on Sunday at St Mary’s Church in Moseley.

You can find out more about the events on Facebook, here.

Visit the Young Artists for Ukraine Instagram page, here.

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