King's Lynn learning support assistant shares 'terrifying nightmare' of Ukraine invasion
A Lynn school worker has tonight told of her terror at the Russian invasion of her native Ukraine.
Tanya Mikulova spoke as the colours of the Ukrainian flag were projected onto Lynn's Town Hall in an act of solidarity following the attack, which began in the early hours of yesterday.
Other public buildings in the town, including the Custom House and the Corn Exchange, will also be similarly lit for the next seven days.
Mrs Mikulova's mother and sister live near Ukraine's capital, Kyiv.
Although they are safe at the moment and she has been able to communicate with them, she described the situation as a "terrifying nightmare".
She said: "They've been trapped in their house. They've been advised to shelter, not to go out."
"I've been worried about them for weeks now but no-one could believe it would go this far."
"I've had so many messages from my friends who I studied with and it's absolutely heartbreaking when you know someone you love is experiencing something like this in the 21st century.
"It's really difficult not to know what tomorrow will bring."
"The last 48 hours has been a terrifying nightmare. I didn't sleep for nights now and I couldn't go to work this morning as I was terrified for my family, feeling hopeless.
"There is nothing you can do except praying, praying, praying."
Mrs Mikulova, who has lived in Lynn for the past 18 years, says she has contacted North West Norfolk MP James Wild about the possibility of bringing her mother and sister to Britain.
She also thanked colleagues and families at the St Martha's RC Primary School in Gaywood, where she works as a learning support assistant, for their backing during the crisis.
She said: "They are such beautiful people. They are like family to me. I had so many wellwishes for my country, for myself, my family.
"I never had so many messages in my life as I did in the last 24 hours."
Tonight's event was attended by senior figures from across the political spectrum, as well as faith leaders and members of the public.
West Norfolk's Mayor, Harry Humphrey, described the invasion as "an abhorrent act, based on blatant lies".
He added: “All members of this Council join people in our Borough, country and across the civilised world, in pledging support to Ukraine and condemning this act of war against a free and independent country by a deranged dictator and his cronies.”
Borough council leader Stuart Dark worked in Ukraine following the shooting down of the Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 by a Russian-controlled missile in 2014.
He said: “I am personally sickened to the core that this sovereign state and the proud welcoming people I got to know, so European in culture, outlook and aspirations have once more become the victim of unprovoked, unjustifiable and extreme military aggression from a neighbouring regime that is ignoring international law and all diplomatic norms.
“In these dark days for Ukraine, democracy and the world it’s right for us to send this message of solidarity and support to Ukrainians everywhere and to the Russian regime to stop this humanitarian and military crisis of their sole making escalating.”
Sandra Squire, deputy leader of the main opposition Independent group, said the invasion was a "catastrophe for democracy".
She added: “If history is not to repeat itself, Putin needs to bring this evil conflict to an end and leave the Ukraine people to once again steer their own course.
“We extend our deepest sympathy and support to our brave Ukrainian friends, both in Ukraine itself and those now living in West Norfolk.”
Labour group leader Charles Joyce said: “The lessons of history have not been learnt. Wherever there is an aggressor he will be resisted.
“Let us all hope the good work and courage of Vasily Arkhipov and Stanislav Petrov is not put at risk. Both were Soviet military officers, who at different times in history, can rightly be said to have saved the world.”