'I think every call will be the last': Man's fear for family in Ukraine

Protesters come together to oppose the war in Ukraine

Mykhaylo Kostyuk is pictured in the centre holding up placards with his wife Alina - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

A Ukrainian man has said his phone calls to his home country are constantly cut off by his family rushing to the basement as bomb sirens go off. 

More than 200 people attended an anti-war protest at Norwich City Hall on Sunday which included Mykhaylo Kostyuk, 43, and his wife Alina, 44, from Dereham. 

Their families are living in the city of Kolomyya in the west of Ukraine where bombs have been dropped.

Mr Kostyuk - who moved to Norfolk in 2007 - calls his 74-year-old mum Marta, 75-year-old Dad Ivan and 48-year-old brother Taras in Kolomyya every day.

But he fears every conversation may be their last. 

The family are often rushed down to their basement to take cover with the conversation cut off. 

Mr Kostyuk said: "The basement is warm and well-equipped with water and food but it is not a peaceful life. 

"After I finish every phone call with them I do think this could potentially be the last time I speak to them.

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"They know what is going on and they try to be calm and not panic." 

Mr Kostyuk is also quietly optimistic the invasion will not swallow up all of Ukraine with the majority of Russian troops still focused on the capital Kyiv.

Ukrainian servicemen walk by fragments of a downed aircraft, in Kyiv,

Ukrainian servicemen walk by fragments of a downed aircraft, in Kyiv, - Credit: AP

He added he is also pleased to see action such as the European Union providing around €500m in arms to aid Ukrainian forces.

Mr Kostyuk said: "I feel there is more practical international aid now rather than just statements. The country is now receiving arms, supplies and more medical help." 

The Ukrainian flag flying near Norwich City Hall 

The Ukrainian flag flying near Norwich City Hall - Credit: Kate Wolstenholme

He went on to praise the spirit of Ukrainian people in the face of adversity. 

"Those who do not belong to the Ukrainian army are doing as much as they can to defend by digging trenches ready to face the enemy," Mr Kostyuk said.

"The people are well organised and do as much as they can in a short amount of time. They are very motivated and organised people."

The Norfolk Ukrainian also praised the spirit showed in Norwich on Sunday as a protest and cathedral vigil took place to show solidarity with Ukraine.

Anti-war protestors show support for Ukraine outside Norwich City Hall on Sunday 

Anti-war protestors show support for Ukraine outside Norwich City Hall on Sunday - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

He said: "I was very pleased to see so many people in Norwich. I did not expect there to be as many as 200."