'We moved to Scotland two years ago - mum told us no rockets can fly here'

The Ivanova family fled Ukraine and arrived in Scotland nearly two years ago after Russia invaded their homeland.

Ukrainians have opened up about their experiences living in Scotland two years after Russia invaded their homeland.

More than 20,000 Ukrainians have settled here since war broke out in February 2022.

Marina Ivanova is now in Edinburgh after travelling to the capital from Kharkiv with her twins Kit and Sasha. She has since had another baby.

For the twins, the soft play centre at Edinburgh’s Commonwealth Pool is a world away from the war in their home country.

The pair have settled well into life in Scotland.

Kit told STV News: “It feels scary to go to another place and school. It’s sad to leave a country you’ve been in for seven years.

“My mum told me ‘no rockets can fly here’. But I have friends that help me. I do things like gymnastics, trampolining and football.”

Sasha added: “It was kind of scary. I was angry. I was thinking ‘what can I do to keep safe and help my family?’

Marina and her family have settled into life in Scotland

“It was hard to think that this is our country.

“But people have been welcoming and my school friends always help me if I don’t know words.

“I take things as they come.”

Marina recalls the terrifying moment their home city was bombed.

“We were woken up because of missiles. We saw explosions and fires near our house,” she said.

“We took our babies and ran to the ground floor trying to find some safe place. We were all crying. It was the scariest moment of my life.

“Before the war, we were an ordinary Ukrainian family. Going to school, living a happy life. We spent every night in a bomb shelter in Kharkiv.

“Our friends and family live there. Some have died. It’s really sad. They are not safe there.

“Every evening I think, will they be there tomorrow morning?”

Marina now has a job as a classroom assistant at the twins’ school – but the family are hoping to return to Ukraine.

She said: “Life is safe here. We received a lot of support. The people are wonderful.

“We love Scotland, but we want to go back to Ukraine. It’s our home. We hope to go back, but we don’t know.”

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