• Andrew Atkinson talks to Ukrainian refugee Olga Baranova in Part 2 of a Leader Exclusive.
  • I don’t understand how I feel. I have no deep feelings – I can hear the bombs

By Andrew Atkinson EXCLUSIVE

Olga Baranova is for the moment safe in San Luis after escaping from the Russian invasion of Ukraine in a long journey to Spain.

“I have been made welcome in Spain by the authorities,” said Olga, who made the heartbreaking journey with her son Vova, her sister Kate and her two children.

“I have been to the police station with my sister and also to the hospital to undertake our registrations,” said Olga.

“I have also made a school registration application for my 11-year-old son Vova, which went okay and awaiting news for confirmation,” she said.

“Also I have been to make our hospital registration and got our identity cards,” added Olga, housed in San Luis by Lisa Briggs.

Olga, who arrived in Spain penniless, said: “I have visited the Ukrainian Association Centre in Torrevieja, where refugees are helped, with meals daily.”

Olga, whose parents remain in the Ukraine and are under attack from Russian bombing, said: “It was very difficult to leave Ukraine. Getting through customs on the way out was very, very difficult.

“We were waiting 8 hours to get through the queue. There were little children in all of the cars.

“At the checkpoint there was a feeling of torment, maybe. There were no rules. With four men there. It felt like they were insinuating wanting money, maybe.”

Olga added: “On the journey we slept on the floor for five hours, when in Slovenia. In a community hall there was 20 mattresses.

Ukraine refugees Olga and son Vova with Lisa in San Luis (C).
Ukraine refugees Olga and son Vova with Lisa in San Luis (C).

“When we arrived in Venice I asked for help and a Pizzeria owner gave me the key to her shop, and gave us food and let us sleep.

“The Pastor visited and didn’t really understand what actually their government could do.”

Olga said: “I ask everyone how can I make some money in Spain. I want to get a job, and hopefully that will happen.

“My host Lisa has been a very helpful woman as refugees and neighbours come to give me meat, milk, vegetables and clothes.

“I don’t want to take it, but I am made to take it. Many Spanish people have helped along with other nationalities, added to the free food at the Ukrainian Association in Torrevieja.”

On Russia attacking Ukraine and the future, Olga said: “I can only hope that everything will be okay. I’m healthy and I have a happy boy in Vova.

“At the moment I don’t understand how I feel. I have no deep feelings. I can hear the bombs.”