A British man has explained why he was not going to leave his home in Kyiv this weekend, despite the UK government warning people to leave.
Stuart McKenzie, a British citizen who has lived in Kyiv for 28 years, made the decision to stay there with his wife despite the government’s announcement on Friday.
UK nationals, thought to number in the low thousands, were told by the Foreign Office to “leave now while commercial means are still available”.
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Armed forces minister James Heappey also said with the Kremlin having amassed weaponry and an estimated 130,000 troops on Ukraine’s border, Russia could attack “very, very quickly”.
However, Mr McKenzie told Sky News they were planning to leave the country and travel to Poland, but they didn’t want to leave behind other family members in Ukraine, such as his wife’s mother.
He said: “It’s been a crazy 24 hours.
“There’s been a lot of thoughts and discussions and decisions being made. Yesterday we were hoping the Biden-Putin conversation might create some sort of miracle, but it didn’t.
“My wife and I then made the decision to pack up, we loaded the car, we booked hotels and organised cash to leave with her mother. My mother-in-law stays in the house as she is elderly and needs care, so we organised the care there.
“Put some jerry cans of extra fuel in the car and went to sleep, but didn’t sleep particularly well and this morning, just before we were going to go, we couldn’t do it. We just couldn’t leave.”
Mr McKenzie added he also didn’t want to leave behind his brother, who has three children, as well as “thousands” of friends and work colleagues, as “95% of people are staying”.
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He said: “We wanted to stand by them. We’re not going to run away from the bully in the schoolyard, we’re going to stay together.
“Everybody is trying to get on with their lives, we’ll be at work as normal tomorrow, like most people will be. Ukrainians are trying their best not to hype this up and are trying to continue was peacefully as possible with their normal day lives.
“It’s a beautiful sunny day here and people are walking their dogs in the parks as normal.
“When the embassy left and the big companies took key staff, it raised the stakes a little, but it is still a country with 45 million people, and Kyiv with almost four million people.
“We don’t feel the immediate threat of bombs coming down, if that does happen other people will have to make other decisions, but it is up to everybody individually.”
He added on a final note that his car is only “half-unpacked” following his decision to stay, which could suggest he may still need to prepare to leave.
When asked what he would do if Russia did invade, Mr McKenzie said: “We will make that decision at the time”.
He added: “It’s very emotional.”