British father makes it to wife and son after two-day journey to Ukraine

Ian Umney said he has a ‘tea in hand’ after arriving in the city of Nikopol.

01 March 2022

A father who went viral on TikTok after embarking on a two-day journey to Ukraine to be with his wife and son has made it to his family “tea in hand”.

Ian Umney, from St Helens, Merseyside, quit his job as a courier and English teacher to travel to Nikopol in south-eastern Ukraine to be with his Ukrainian wife Nelia and two-year-old son Jonathan.

The 28-year-old flew from Manchester to Krakow, Poland, on Sunday before travelling to the Ukrainian border, crossing into the country in the early hours of Monday morning.

On Monday afternoon Mr Umney caught a train from Lviv to Nikopol, which are around 500 miles apart and on Tuesday at around 2pm Ukrainian time he told his Telegram followers he has made it.

“I made it to my family… tea in hand,” Mr Umney posted on the instant messaging service.

Russian invasion of Ukraine
Ian Umney said he felt ‘an overwhelming need to be with my family’ (Ian Umney)

He said he would offer a further update soon but “needs to collect a few things”.

Speaking to the PA news agency during his journey on Monday, Mr Umney said: “I just feel an overwhelming need to be with my family… the only thing I have to do is go and be with them and make sure they’re safe.”

He has been sharing videos of his progress on TikTok, garnering hundreds of thousands of views.

“People have commented how I’m being selfless and a hero but I’m not, I’m just a husband and a father,” he said.

Ian Umney took a 500-mile trip on a train from Lviv to Nikopol (ian.1193.backup/TikTok)

Asked what he will do when he gets to his family, Mr Umney said: “I’m not really sure… I’m leaning towards getting my family out but the journey to do that is a bit dangerous at the moment.

“We’re going to have to come to a decision about what’s best for us and our family.”

Mr Umney met Nelia in 2016, later marrying her, but had to return to the UK for work.

He plans to apply for a spouse visa when they decide to return to the UK.

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