| 13.6°C Dublin

home safe Irish teacher arrives home from Ukraine - but says he plans to go back

Michael Campbell, 31, from Newcastle, Co Down, is an English teacher in Kyiv, where he has been living for the last year-and-a-half.

Close

Michael Campbell is an English teacher in Kyiv

Michael Campbell is an English teacher in Kyiv

Ruslan Gorovyi

Ruslan Gorovyi

Dublin Airport

Dublin Airport

Michael Baskin

Michael Baskin

/

Michael Campbell is an English teacher in Kyiv

A quarter flight full of passengers from Kyiv to Dublin Airport landed early this morning as more people fled the country under threat from a Russian invasion.

Flight FR9230 landed at around midnight this morning just hours after the United Nations called for restraint after reported shelling by Russian-backed separatists on a nursery school in the city of Stanytsia Luhanska, wounding two civilians.

Several passengers entered the Dublin Airport arrivals hall after midnight, some with friends and family waiting and others, alone.

Michael Campbell, 31, from Newcastle, Co Down, is an English teacher in Kyiv, where he has been living for the last year-and-a-half.

“I told my bosses I was taking a two week holiday and that I’d be in touch”, Mr Campbell told the Irish Independent.

“I plan to go back. It’s kind of heart-breaking, as I was teaching in different schools and I was saying goodbye to the children.

“The kids don’t get to leave, so I was worried about leaving them behind and what could happen.”

Mr Campbell said he made the decision to leave after following news reports in the UK and Ireland.

When he read countries were moving their embassy staff out of Ukraine, he became increasingly concerned despite an apparent relaxed attitude in general among his Ukrainian friends.

“I decided I’d better make a move,” Mr Campbell said. “You wouldn’t really notice tension over there though.

“People are just getting on with it. My two bosses were kind of laughing it off. They were like ‘Come on Michael, this is how it is.’

“I was worried though. It’s not set in stone something is going to happen but I think maybe people are a little bit in denial.

“I was starting to feel anxious but not from the atmosphere in Ukraine, but mostly from reading the Western media.

“Kyiv is amazing, it’s a really beautiful city, with amazing architecture. People are very, very sweet once you get to know them.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

“But I was going to take the word of the embassies in the end and I came home.”

Close

Michael Baskin

Michael Baskin

Michael Baskin

Michael Baskin, 45, a Ukrainian national living in Blanchardstown, north Dublin, was waiting at arrivals to pick up his friend, Ukrainian film director, Ruslan Gorovyi.

Mr Gorovyi is attending a screening in Cavan this evening of his documentary Just Below the Sky, about the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

“I have children,” Mr Gorovyi said. “I worried about leaving them but I have a duty to show this film in Ireland - to explain what’s happening in our country.

“The best thing I can do as a human being right now is spread the word of what’s happening and what has been happening in Ukraine for some time.”

Close

Ruslan Gorovyi

Ruslan Gorovyi

Ruslan Gorovyi

The documentary focuses on a battle at Donetsk Airport in Ukraine in 2014, when fighters from the Donetsk People’s Republic separatist forces, backed by Russia clashed with Ukrainian military and voluntary forces.

The airport was on land that was the last part of Donetsk under Ukrainian control. Forty people were reported to have died during the firefight.

Since fighting started in 2014 in eastern Ukraine, separatist rebels of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics have been accused of being pro Russia.

Mr Baskin said: “I have sisters, nephews, cousins at home in Ukraine. My parents were Russian but they died.”

Mr Baskin felt the atmosphere in Ukraine is “tense.” “Everyone is trying to keep their heads cool,” Mr Baskin added. “But everyone understands what’s taking place.

“There’s no panic there though. Ukrainians will resist and that’s a good thing. But if war happens, I think it will be full scale war for the world.

“It is good that we are not as distanced from family and friends, as we have social media.

“The media wants to hear it is hard for Ukrainians, of course. And it is hard. But Ukrainians understand, sometimes to be citizens of our country, there is a price to be paid.”

U.S President Joe Biden yesterday warned the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine was very high.

European and Wall Street shares fell yesterday evening, due to the increased tensions in the region.

An Irish couple travelled to Ukraine two days ago, after their baby boy, Luke, was born via surrogacy three days ago.

The child’s father had told how he would have ‘walked over there to collect my baby’, and how ‘nothing’ would ‘stop me’, despite a warning from the Department of Foreign Affairs for Irish citizens to leave Ukraine and not to travel to it.

There was no sign of any parents or families on the flight from Kyiv this morning.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices


Privacy