A north Oxfordshire MP has marked the six-month anniversary of welcoming a Ukrainian refugee into her home.

Six-months ago, Victoria Prentis MP welcomed Vika, a 25-year-old office worker from Kyiv fleeing Ukraine, into her home.

Vika, who arrived in March, became friends with Victoria’s daughter Tilly when she was studying in Kyiv at the end of 2021.

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Both Victoria and Vika have reflected on the past six months.

Mrs Prentis said: “It has been an extraordinary experience having Vika live with us this past six months.

“Like many hosts, we have been much more involved than we first expected. We have met a wide network of Ukrainian’s staying locally and have tried our best to help them along the way.

“The war is very real. We sometimes hear the air raid siren from Kyiv at home through Vika’s phone.

“It is obviously still extremely traumatic for those that were able to flee.

“We have been trying to make Vika’s stay as useful for her as possible. I am really pleased that she has been able to start work in Oxford and has been learning to drive which is really benefitting her.

“We are very conscious that Vika wants to go home to help rebuild her country as soon as it is safe.

“I’m sure we will stay in close touch when she does. This is a lifelong relationship.”

Commenting on her stay, Vika said: “It has already been six months living with Victoria and her family.

“It has been a very interesting time, despite the difficulty of living a double life and thinking about my country and people every day.

“The family has been extremely supportive, helpful and kind to me.

“I have been invited to lots of parties and family gatherings, meeting almost every family member.

“They are so welcoming. They treat me like a daughter, a sister, a niece and a cousin which is very sweet.

“It seems we have known each other forever.

“Victoria and her family and friends have done a lot to help me with settling in, which I am unbelievably grateful for.

“I have been taught lots of traditions, habits and many cultural aspects of the UK.

“I have also been shown lots of new places, we had a great time visiting Wales in the summer, discovering it can be warm there.

“I feel much better now as we have been able to help my parents and some of our friends to come to the UK which is a big relief.

Mrs Prentis was the first politician to take in a Ukrainian refugee earlier this year – Vika is staying at the MP’s constituency home in Somerton, near Banbury.


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Matthew.norman@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1

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