A DORSET resident has spoken of his family’s efforts to flee Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.

Saleem Rangoon from Bournemouth explained how his nephew fled his home in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv with his wife and children. His nephew, Hasnain Sukhla, has now reached safety in Holland with his family and has assured Saleem that they are all safe.

Saleem is in regular contact with the family.

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Speaking to the Daily Echo he said: “They fled from Kharkiv to Moldova, onward to Poland, Czech Republic, Germany and then Amsterdam.

“They are ok now, but Hasnain’s mother-in-law and father-in-law are still in Ukraine.”

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Hasnain, originally from India, moved to Ukraine 19 years ago after marrying a Ukrainian woman.

Hasnain said: “It all started on the morning of February 24 at 5.10am. We saw the first bomb being blasted on the outskirts of the city.

“Initially they were just attacking infrastructures but then they started bombing civilian buildings, schools, colleges, universities and kindergartens. They were no longer being selective. They were trying to destroy everything possible.

“People were leaving their houses just to get water and not returning.”

Hasnain and has family were living on the 9th floor of an apartment block but were forced to move in with friends on the first floor after their apartment became too dangerous to live in.

They stayed there for eight days before deciding to flee the country.

Although men of fighting age have been unable to leave Ukraine, Hasnain’s dual Indian passport meant that he was able to cross the border and reach safety with his family.

“We never wanted to leave.

“Ukraine is my home. It’s where I have started my family.

“It’s not easy to leave everything behind but it was a matter of life and death.”

Now in Holland, Hasnain’s priority is to keep his wife and children safe. He said: “I want to get the kids settled. They don’t speak about it, but you know it’s in their mind.”

“It’s all about faith and belief now, staying together and fighting it out mentally and physically.

“You feel blessed to be alive.”