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A businessman desperately trying to bring his wife’s cousin, her friends and one of their mothers from Ukraine to the UK has branded Britain’s visa system a ‘disgrace’.

Mark Lewis and his Ukrainian-born wife Irina spent nearly eight hours filling in forms for the women to come to Britain under the Homes for Ukraine scheme.

The group – who spent 24 hours travelling to the Polish border – had to trek to Warsaw because some didn’t have passports with them. So far, only four of their seven applications have been approved.

Mark Lewis and his Ukrainian-born wife Irina spent nearly eight hours filling in forms for the women to come to Britain under the Homes for Ukraine scheme

Mark Lewis and his Ukrainian-born wife Irina spent nearly eight hours filling in forms for the women to come to Britain under the Homes for Ukraine scheme

Mark Lewis and his Ukrainian-born wife Irina spent nearly eight hours filling in forms for the women to come to Britain under the Homes for Ukraine scheme

Mr Lewis, 56, who works in finance and lives in Chertsey, Surrey, is a lifelong Conservative voter – but says the fiasco may have changed his mind.

He said: ‘Frustration is the polite word for what we feel. They won’t be able to get my vote again unless they sort this mess out.’

‘I’ve got this horrible feeling (the system) is completely not fit for purpose,’ he added. 

Mr Lewis and his Kharkiv-born wife are at their wits’ end trying to get second cousin Katya Katchan, 21, five of her friends and one of their mothers to safety. 

The girls are Kostya, 21, Viktoriia, 18, Andriana, 16, Viktoriia, 20, plus Yelyzaveta, 20, and her mother Nataliia, 55.

The girls are Kostya, 21, Viktoriia, 18, Andriana, 16, Viktoriia, 20, plus Yelyzaveta, 20, and her mother Nataliia, 55

The girls are Kostya, 21, Viktoriia, 18, Andriana, 16, Viktoriia, 20, plus Yelyzaveta, 20, and her mother Nataliia, 55

The girls are Kostya, 21, Viktoriia, 18, Andriana, 16, Viktoriia, 20, plus Yelyzaveta, 20, and her mother Nataliia, 55

Katya spent a week sleeping in a corridor in her parents’ apartment in Zaporizhzhia, south-eastern Ukraine, as shells rained down. 

Frustrated by the visa process, Mr Lewis said: ‘I don’t know how anyone is meant to do it, while they’re fleeing a war zone and running for their lives, on a mobile phone – and they don’t speak English.’

While the women wait, Mr Lewis fears for their safety. 

He said: ‘There’s a lot of predators. For people traffickers it’s like all their Christmases have come at once; these girls are young and naive.’

Here’s how YOU can help: Donate here to the Mail Force Ukraine Appeal

Readers of Mail Newspapers and MailOnline have always shown immense generosity at times of crisis.

Calling upon that human spirit, we are supporting a huge push to raise money for refugees from Ukraine.

For, surely, no one can fail to be moved by the heartbreaking images and stories of families – mostly women, children, the infirm and elderly – fleeing from the bombs and guns.

As this tally of misery increases over the coming days and months, these innocent victims of this conflict will require accommodation, schools and medical support.

Donations to the Mail Force Ukraine Appeal will be used to help charities and aid organisations providing such essential services.

In the name of charity and compassion, we urge all our readers to give swiftly and generously.

TO MAKE A DONATION ONLINE 

Donate at www.mailforcecharity.co.uk/donate 

To add Gift Aid to a donation – even one already made – complete an online form found here: mymail.co.uk/ukraine

Via bank transfer, please use these details:

Account name: Mail Force Charity

Account number: 48867365

Sort code: 60-00-01

TO MAKE A DONATION VIA CHEQUE

Make your cheque payable to ‘Mail Force’ and post it to: Mail Newspapers Ukraine Appeal, GFM, 42 Phoenix Court, Hawkins Road, Colchester, Essex CO2 8JY

TO MAKE A DONATION IN THE US

You can donate via CAF America at: https://donations.cafamerica.org/mail-force/

Or

US readers can send checks to dailymail.com HQ at 51 Astor Place (9th floor), New York, NY 10003 

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Source: Daily Mail

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