He opened his heart to the Harborough Mail this afternoon as he admitted he fears for the lives of his two brothers who are now fighting overwhelming Russian military forces in Ukraine.
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“I’ve lived in the UK for 10 years and I’ve lived here in Market Harborough for the last two years.
“I love Britain and I love the British people.
“But I do fear for the people here if Boris Johnson and the West does not square up to Putin and stop him now,” said Oleksii, who’s also staging an appeal for vital supplies for Ukrainian refugees.
“I am warning you now.
“If the British government, America and NATO do not unite to go toe to toe and head to head with Putin he will come here for us next.
“He is a classic bully.
“Putin understands only one thing – force,” said devastated Oleksii, his voice cracking with emotion.
“I appeal to Boris Johnson to send even just 10 warplanes to Ukraine right now.
“We have got to close the airspace over my country.
“We have got to impose a no-fly zone over Ukraine now,” insisted Oleksii, a lorry driver who is married to local woman Naomi.
“I’m sure that if Winston Churchill was Prime Minister now he wouldn’t hesitate – he’d go straight to war with Putin if he had to.
“Stop Putin’s planes, missiles, rockets and cluster bombs killing my poor people and our children.
“The British people have got to stand up to the government here and demand military action and support now for my people.
“Putin’s got away with invading Georgia and stealing the Crimea from Ukraine over the last few years.
“He can’t be allowed to get away with invading Ukraine, killing thousands of innocent civilians and devastating our beloved country.
“If he does who knows where he will turn next?
“Putin might go for Moldova, Poland, Finland or the Baltic states,” said heartbroken Oleksii, who sent us a stunning picture taken by his sister from her flat in Chernihiv of a huge explosion near a striking city building.
“But I do know that the missiles and shells that he’s firing at our children and families now he’ll be firing at British children and families down the line.
“Putin breaks the law time and again and tells lies all the time – there is only one way we can deal with a totally ruthless monster like that.”
Told that imposing a no-fly zone over Ukraine could trigger a cataclysmic Third World War, Oleksii retorted: “We have to wake up in Britain!
“World War Three has already started.
“I grew up in Chernihiv, which is in the north of Ukraine and is a key city lying between Russia/Belarus and Kyiv.
“The city is being bombed and shelled as we speak as Putin targets men, women and children who have done nothing wrong, nothing to deserve their fates.
“My sister lives there and naturally I’m very frightened for her – she’s trying to survive there in the middle of a brutal warzone.
“We are in touch all the time, every day.
“My family over there have got to stay indoors and head down into their basements when the air raid siren sounds.
“This is terrifying for everybody in Ukraine – none of us saw this coming.
“I speak Russian myself.
“I know their mentality.
“It’s this simple – we have to stand up to them now.
“As for economic sanctions?
“Forget those,” said Oleksii, who has a 20-year-old daughter from a previous marriage living with her boyfriend in Odessa on the Black Sea in southern Ukraine.
“Putin has enough food and supplies, all he needs, for the next 50 years.
“He doesn’t care how much western sanctions hits his people.
“Both my brothers have taken up weapons and volunteered to fight Russian forces.
“One of my brothers is a lecturer at Kyiv University – he’s got no military experience what so ever.
“But he’s determined to fight and put his life on the line.
“They are so brave.
“But I would take up a gun and fight as well if I was still living back home in Chernihiv.
“I’ve got nephews, my sister-in-laws, my father all still in Ukraine,” said Oleksii, whose two young children here attend schools in Market Harborough.
“Evil Putin and his army will never conquer Ukraine.
“We are over 40 million people.
“We will never surrender, we will fight to the last man, woman and child.
“Putin will have to kill every one of us.
“But the British people have got to stand up for their kids now – because this was me in Ukraine 15 years ago.
“I didn’t see Putin coming, I never thought he’d come for us.
“But he has.
“And I don’t want the UK to be next.”
Oleksii may not be able to pick up a gun and join his countrymen in the frontline but he is pitching in to support his embattled compatriots as thousands are killed.
He is launching an urgent appeal in Harborough for vital supplies for Ukrainian refugees.
And he is being backed to the hilt by Market Harborough’s five Anglican churches.
Oleksii is asking for sleeping bags, tents, camping mats, bottles of water (5 litre), non-perishable food (pasta/rice, tins with ring pulls), nappies/wipes, toothpaste/toothbrushes, sanitary products, antibacterial wipes and bandages.
If you would like to support Oleksii there will be a collection point at each church after this Sunday’s multiple services (March 6).
Or you can deliver your items to St Dionysius Church on Market Harborough’s High Street and leave them in the left-hand balcony (kitchen side) or contact Jo Grant on 07974 296727.
Oleksii aims to travel to the Ukrainian border on Friday March 11 so please donate any items by next Wednesday (March 9).
He is planning to ferry the supplies on the 3,000-mile round journey by car.
But please get in touch with Jo if you can lend him a van to make the gruelling trip deep into eastern Europe.