Ukrainian, 79, trekked 10 hours during nine-day journey to UK -and is already back at work


Antonina Kolodii, a professor at Ivan Franko National University in Lviv, did not want to let down the students she left behind after fleeing Russian invaders. So after just a day’s rest following her horror ordeal, the inspirational refugee resumed giving lectures to her eager political science undergraduates.

Antonina was amongst the first tranche of people to manage to flee her home country when Putin’s troops descended.

Her escape involved a gruelling 10-hour-trek to Poland as part of a humanitarian convoy. She left her son Yurii, 44, behind because he must stay and fight the Russians, whilst husband Ivan, 78, refused to leave Yurii alone.

Her daughter Marianne, 43, flew from her home in Bradford to rendezvous with her elderly mother in the Polish town of Rzeszow, expecting they would be able to fly back to the UK almost immediately.

But instead they became embroiled in a nine-day “bureaucratic nightmare” before the pensioner was deemed to not be a terror threat and granted a visa.

They finally arrived at mum-of-two Marianne’s home on Sunday night – shell-shocked by their experience.

But after a day’s rest on Monday, the professor was back teaching on Tuesday and has continued her lectures throughout the week.

She said: “I feel grateful to be able to teach Political Science to students in Ukraine from a safe place in the UK. Many students are unable to join, but those that can attend my online lectures are working very hard.

“My course ‘Modern Political Regimes” is more relevant than ever in these difficult times. In their essays, students compare the regimes in Ukraine and Russia, as well as in the West and in China. My friends, colleagues and students support and inspire me to continue my work.”


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