On vacation in Madeira, Irina is part of the group of 189 Ukrainian tourists who were surprised by the Russian invasion while on vacation in Madeira. Living the war at a distance, Irina chose to postpone returning to her country.

The story is reported by the newspaper Expresso and explains that the tourist has, in Ukraine, a six-year-old son and his mother, who live in Donipro. “They are fine, they have everything ready, they are in a basement with their bags packed and the car ready”, Irina told the Expresso newspaper. She says that the family has not yet risked taking to the road. “There are no guarantees, there are long lines, nor is it safe” and so, for now, the solution is to wait.

Irina, 37, who took advantage of the Kiev-Funchal direct link for a two-week vacation in the Region, guarantees that, for now, she will stay on the island. “I have no way to get home, it’s 700 kilometers from the Polish border,” she maintained.

Five families want to stay in Madeira

“So far, of the people we have spoken with, there are five families that want to stay in Madeira and are even considering applying for refugee status,” Olesya Zhmak, a Ukrainian who has lived in the archipelago for three years, told Expresso.

The Ukrainian says most want to return. “The tour operator in charge found a flight to Vilnius, Lithuania, and we were told the plane was full.” The same publication states that the plane leaves Cristiano Ronaldo airport for the Lithuanian capital at eight o’clock this Saturday night.

However, Expresso points out that there will still be a meeting between the operator, government and travel agents to determine who stays and who goes and to find out what support they need, both tourists and the Ukrainian community residing in the Region.