Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper have taken in a Ukrainian family, while Strictly Come Dancing professional Katya Jones has been teaching them to dance.
On February 24 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine on the orders of Russian president Vladimir Putin, with tens of thousands of people losing their lives in the subsequent war that continues to rage to this day.
Millions of refugees fled Ukraine, with many travelling to the UK after being forced to leave their homes behind.
Ed, a Good Morning Britain host and former Labour minister, has welcomed a family of a mother and her daughters into his home with his wife Yvette Cooper, who’s served as the shadow home secretary since 2021.
The broadcaster, 55, explained that the family have been staying with the couple since April, with friends of theirs living close by.
‘What Putin has done to Ukraine is horrendous – committing war crimes and driving families from their homes,’ he told The Sun.
‘Lots of people across Britain have welcomed Ukrainian families and we have an incredible family who have been staying with us since April, while their friends are staying round the corner.’
He added that the children’s dad and grandparents are still in Ukraine, ‘so they have been back to visit but the continued shelling and power shortages make things very hard’.
‘Their dad and grandparents are still in Ukraine so they have been back to visit but the continued shelling and power shortages make things very hard.’
Speaking about one of the young girls called Yeva, who dances with another Ukrainian youngster named Zakhar, Yvette, 53, said it’s been ‘inspiring’ to see them train to dance with Russian dancer Katya, 33.
‘Yeva and Zakhar are amazing dancers and it’s been inspiring to see them training every day and winning competitions despite everything that’s happened,’ the politician said.
‘No children should ever have to go through what is happening to Ukraine, and we need to keep supporting their country against Putin’s aggression.’
The budding dancers have won a competition at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, where Katya and her fellow Strictly dancers perform on the show.
In October last year, Ed tweeted about the girls’ achievement winning the dance competition, sharing a photo of them holding their trophies as he wrote: ‘What an achievement: Castleford’s Yeva and Zakhar, Ukrainian refugees living in the town, yesterday won the Open Blackpool under-12s Ballroom championship.
‘To win an international competition so far from home when facing such destabilising adversity. Amazing.’
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