A Ukrainian family who sought refuge in Trowbridge are fearing for their safety after being forced to return to their home country.

Nataliia Taranenko, who brought her three children to Wiltshire six months ago after Russia’s invasion of their country, is facing Christmas with the threat of missile strikes after failing to find affordable housing to rent in the UK.

The family were left with no choice but to return to their home on the outskirts of Kyiv this week after their living situation became untenable due to both cost and conditions.

Mrs Taranenko explained: “Our sponsors rented a one bedroom flat for us in Trowbridge. The building is old and the windows and doors have gaps so the flat is very cold and at the same time my electricity bill was £300.

“The flat has high humidity and mould started to appear… my kids began to have a constant cough so I started looking for a new home.”

But the family were unable to secure affordable accommodation and have now returned to Ukraine leading Mrs Taranenko to fear for their safety.

“Of course I’m worried about our stay in Ukraine”, she said. “We do not always have electricity at home it is only turned on for two hours a day.

“When there is no electricity there is no water or heating and everyday there is the threat of rocket attacks from Russia.”

Mrs Taranenko, who is a certified economist, had been learning English in college but had not yet found a job and was reliant on universal credit.

Her three children, Mariia, Anastasiia and Vova who are aged 16, 13 and 7, had all begun attending school in Trowbridge and had settled into their new lives.

Mrs Taranenko hopes that she will be able to return to the UK, preferably Trowbridge, with her children until their home is safe again.

She added: “I really hope that in the new year we will find a landlord with a good heart who is understanding of our situation.

“My children have found friends in Trowbridge and they can go to school and learn where they do not have to hear air raid alerts and explosions.

“I really hope that luck will smile on us and we will be able to rent somewhere where we will be just as happy as we were before the war.”

In the meantime the family will be reunited with Mrs Taranenko’s husband, parents and dogs in Kyiv where they are planning a family Christmas.