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Aberdeenshire man flies to Budapest to bring trapped Ukrainian wife home

People fleeing Ukraine arrive by train at Western Railway Station in Budapest, Hungary on March 1, 2022. Photo by Xinhua/Shutterstock
People fleeing Ukraine arrive by train at Western Railway Station in Budapest, Hungary on March 1, 2022. Photo by Xinhua/Shutterstock

A north-east man is travelling to Budapest to reunite with his wife as she flees Ukraine.

Natalya Fisher became stranded in Ukraine after being forced to return to the country to sort visa issues just days before Russian forces began their invasion.

After warnings from the Home Office that she would be declared an “illegal alien” and any future applications may be affected if she overstayed her visa – the couple had hoped to resolve the issue before conflicts escalated.

Meeting her family in the city of Dnipro just three days before Russia invaded, she has been texting her husband updating him on the increasingly dire situation.

Speaking to the Daily Record, her husband Peter Fisher said she has now managed to reach the Ukrainian city of Uzhhorod.

The city is close to borders with Hungary and Slovakia. If things go to plan, Mr Fisher will travel from Peterhead to meet his wife in either Budapest or Bratislava tomorrow.

Parents sold jewellery to escape

In their attempts to flee Ukraine, Mrs Fisher’s parents have had to sell their precious gold jewellery to raise cash.

Mr Fisher meanwhile is using the cash they had set aside for a spouse visa to cover his travel costs.

He said: “Things have gone as well as could be expected, and I’m hoping with all my heart that I will be able to see Natalya and hold her on Thursday.

“I won’t believe it until it happens, but I hope this nightmare will soon be over.”

The couple had been told that if flights were still heading to Ukraine, they would only be able to apply for a spouse visa from there.

Mrs Fisher has been staying in Boddam, near Peterhead, since Christmas on a visitor visa, which is due to expire on April 28.

Told if she stayed, it would ‘endanger our future in Scotland’

Mr Fisher added: “We were never for a second told that she could stay put in Boddam without endangering our future in Scotland.”

The 38-year-old initially became stuck in Dnipro, where she ended up making Molotov cocktails for resistance efforts instead of filling in visa forms.

People trying to flee Ukraine stand on a platform as they wait for trains inside Lviv railway station. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

With Home secretary Priti Patel slightly loosening the rules on Ukrainians entering the country, she will have to report to a visa centre and negotiate her options to stay.

The couple’s MSP Karen Adam, hit out at the situation, saying she would demand that the Home Office does “everything in their power to return Natalya home.”

She said: “The scenes in Ukraine are deeply worrying, although Boris Johnson was warned of the pending invasion.

“Even by Westminster’s standards, I am aghast that my constituent was instructed to go to an area which the UK Government knew was potentially precarious. This has put my constituent’s life in peril.

“Imagine sending anyone to Ukraine with the news that was coming from there weeks in advance. It was the most signposted invasion ever.

“First and foremost, my heart goes out to Natalya and Peter Fisher and their loved ones in what will be an incredibly worrying time.

“I will be writing to the Home Office as a matter of urgency to demand they do everything in their power to return Natalya home to Boddam safely.”

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