One message was enough … Incredible story of a British woman who saved 3 children from Ukraine

class = “medianet-inline-adv”>

Joe Cope, who lives in England, received a message at 4 a.m. after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Read the message, which scared him so much:

“If something bad happens, can you come and get the kids?”

The decision was simple. Cope told the British newspaper The Telegraph: “If the kids you love were in mortal danger, you would go and get them, wouldn’t you?” Said and added: “Instead of just sitting at home watching the news, you get on a plane and make sure they’re safe, don’t you?”

While many are still grappling with the question, Kope, a mother of three, immediately bought a plane ticket to Lublin, a Polish town near the Ukrainian border.

“I left some tights and pants in a bag. I went to the airport with my medicine, passport and driving license. I kept saying ‘I can do this’. But after a while I start asking myself: ‘What am I doing?’ I was terrified. “

class = “medianet-inline-adv”>

Cope was linked to Ukraine through the Chernobyl Child Lifeline Charity (CCLC), which sends children growing up in the shadow of the world’s worst nuclear disaster to reunite with their families in the UK for a mid-holiday.

Cope, now 35, was born in April 1986, when the Chernobyl nuclear power plant crashed. She has been volunteering to host children coming to England on summer vacation since the age of 18, and she felt lucky to have been born in England after learning about the events in Ukraine.

Sasha, now 14, spent the summer with her family in England, and Kopp took her own children to a village between Kyiv and Chernobyl where Sasha and her family lived. He even encouraged the whole family to get passports so that they could return to the UK after the epidemic.

They were looking forward to having fun with Cope’s expression. But in November, when Russian tanks began arriving at the Ukrainian border, their correspondence turned dark.

‘We are not safe’

“I texted the family and said I could do anything to help,” Cope said. They say they are not afraid, they are fine. But when Russian missiles began to hit Ukraine in the early hours of the morning, Sasha’s messages made it clear that his mood had changed. Cop was even more frightened when Sasha said they weren’t safe anymore.

class = “medianet-inline-adv”>

Sasha’s family worked in security-critical positions. So it was not possible for them to leave Ukraine. The next morning, Cope received a message from Sasha’s father. A strong and resilient man, Evan was not easily intimidated. Sending her this message showed that she had to go.

After unloading her own children with her parents, she boarded a plane and landed in Poland at 9:30 pm on Friday. A message from his friends at that time shocked him. This is because England suspended visa services to Ukraine and the nearest city to London was Dublin, the capital of Ireland.

class = “medianet-inline-adv”>

They walked 14 kilometers to reach the border

The next day he went to the border gate to pick up the children. But there were exactly two and a half thousand cars among them. When they talk a few hours later, Sasha’s family still can’t go 3 kilometers. Realizing that it would take a long time for the children to deal with this, the family left their car and walked 14 kilometers to the border.

While waiting at the border, Cope was deeply impressed by the kindness of strangers. “I sat around the campfire with the students. Other foreign families also let me wait in their cars. They even offered me coffee and donuts. I was watching a bus full of women and children leaving Ukraine. The buses will be full of men returning to fight the Russians.“It simply came to our notice then.

class = “medianet-inline-adv”>

‘We walked six minutes’

“It was snowing occasionally,” Cope continued. “The temperature was -2 degrees. The children became cold and frightened. Since the men were not allowed to leave the country, their father had to drop them off at their first checkpoint. ” They moved a little towards the border with their mother, but at one point the children had to continue alone. It’s been six hours since they separated from their mother, and they haven’t reached Cope yet.

“The children were left alone in the middle. The servants next to them were telling them to walk, but the children did not know which way to go. They were only six minutes away from where I had hoped. But I was not allowed to cross the border with a British passport to get them.

class = “medianet-inline-adv”>

There are only backpacks and birth certificates

Polish police, on the other hand, were helping Kopp, charging his phone and feeding him. Drama all around. The children finally reached the border in the hands of a random man. The man started hitting the glass of the police car. She had children in her lap. Cope took the children away from the man. At that time, everyone including the police broke down in tears. The kids had a layer of clothes on their backs and a small bag on their backs. Their parents gave them a birth certificate and an official document that gave Cope legal custody for 12 months.

One of his children’s classmates flew to Warsaw with the Ukrainian Mao Kop. The woman worked as a translator between Kop and Sasha and her siblings Sasha also had a little English, so they were able to communicate using the translation app

The park has turned into a big pile of metal

Dealing took children, but not all problems were solved at once. Because the only flight to take the three children to Dublin was via Lisbon. They went to the airport exactly 7 hours ago because they knew the paperwork would be difficult. The children also did not have the covid vaccine. Because of this, they had to wait only 2 hours for the test.

Meanwhile, the family was sending pictures and videos of the ruins of their village. A few years ago they sent pictures of a park where Kopp’s children were playing. It was a common playground with swings and slides. “I think my own kids were laughing there,” Cope said. Older people were sitting on benches, couples were walking their dogs, ”he told the Telegraph. There was also a picture of her youngest child hugging a dog. Now the park was just a huge pile of metal.

They first go to Lisbon …

Cope calls the Interior Ministry Warsaw for advice. He told the officer he had spoken to to leave the airport and return to the embassy and from there to Romania, Moldova or Slovakia.

Although she had the legal documents provided by the child’s parents, she had nothing else to do because she was not related by blood. But neither the kids nor the cops knew the places they were talking about, and they didn’t know anyone. That’s why they chose the flight to Lisbon.

One child, Alex, had never been to the airport before, let alone boarded a plane. “The kids were very upset when we were told that the airline couldn’t reserve seats next to us,” Cope said. But a wonderful stewardess takes care of everything when she sees sadness and fear in the eyes of children. “

One message was enough ... Incredible story of a British woman who saved 3 children from Ukraine

What next?

Cope and the boys are now in Dublin. The generosity of the Irish Border Control staff fascinates him deeply, but he has no idea what will happen next.

“I was running in panic until I had the kids in my arms,” ​​Cope said. “I still have a lot of work to do. I don’t know how to get back to work, to go to my own kids. On the one hand, I watch videos of burning Ukrainian villages, on the other, I think about the parking fees for the car I left at the airport. “

Sasha, Alex and Anna also saw videos and other footage of the burning of the villages. “They didn’t talk to me about how their parents still feel about being in Ukraine,” Cope said. “They focus on getting stronger. I hope they feel like they can have kids again.”

‘If they can get to the border, I promise I’ll come back and take the other kids.’

For Kopp’s own children, they are proud of their mother for doing something to help. They are very excited to see their friends again.

“They’re worried about the other kids I’ve had to leave,” Cope said. There are two more children I hope to bring home but whose parents could not bring to the limit. They are safe now, but are afraid to say where they are. “I promised to go back and take those kids if they could reach a border,” he said.

“I’m not doing this to be a hero,” Kopp said, concluding: “I am a normal human being. There are so many children left in Ukraine that I have only been able to save three children from the effects of war.”

Compiled from an article published in The Telegraph entitled ‘The Incredible Story of a British Mother Who Rescued Her Friends’ Children from Ukraine’.

Leave a Comment