A Ukrainian journalist and former army veteran who fled her home is struggling to find work in Worcester.

Single mum Lera Burlakova is from Kyiv and wanted to stay in Ukraine and fight in the war but left the country to protect her three-year-old son Tim. 

She said: "Not long before the war I went to Europe for two days for work, my son was staying at home with his grandmother.

"While I was in Frankfurt, my evening flight back to Kyiv was cancelled, Lufthansa said that their pilots won't stay in Ukraine overnight anymore as it was too dangerous.

Malvern Gazette: Lera's son, Tim aged 3, at the independence day parade at Kyiv Lera's son, Tim aged 3, at the independence day parade at Kyiv

"At the same time a lot of embassies were evacuated from our city.

"All this news suddenly viewed from a distance - and with my child remaining in Ukraine - changed my mind suddenly.

"It scared me, to be honest.

"I realized that my flight is cancelled and that there might be no other one, that there might be no mobile reception in Ukraine in the morning, that I might be not even able to find my son."

She packed her bags knowing the Russian invasion was imminent.

"At the same time I realized that no matter how much I want to fight, I can be only as effective in the war zone as my 3-year-old is."

Miss Burlakova is currently staying with Catherine Milner and Simon Mallinson in Upton Snodsbury. 

Malvern Gazette: Lera Burlakova photography: https://m.facebook.com/leraandtim/Lera Burlakova photography: https://m.facebook.com/leraandtim/

Miss Burlakova wishes to continue working as a journalist and writer but feels she is hindered as English is not her first language.

Her son has been accepted into Crowle pre-school for 15 hours per week, so she cannot take on a full-time job without having someone to care for him. 

She has a photography page and aims to work as a photographer to earn a living and keep her son with her while she works. 

She added: "The hardest part of it all is that I do feel that I should be in Ukraine and should defend my country.

"But there's no one else I can leave my child with.

"All the other members of my family, close ones and far ones, are in Ukraine, doing whatever they can for it - from fighting in the armed forces to providing the country with electricity, as my father, who works at a nuclear power plant."