Svetlana Osadchuk woke up to the sound of intense explosions on the night of February 23, 2022, in her hometown in South Ukraine.
It was a normal night up until that point for the now Mullingar based refugee, and former journalist, as she and her husband played games with their two daughters, aged eight and 17, ate dinner and then turned in.
Her husband went out onto the street to inspect the noise and confirmed their worst fears, an invasion had begun.
Within hours, Russian tanks filled the streets, and they have remained there since, fully occupying the town which is located in the Kherson region.
“When I first found out, I knew I had to leave straight away. We had never experienced anything like this before,” says Svetlana.
“We packed everything we could – medicine, warm clothes and some food. But no money or jewellery, as we knew that Russian soldiers would steal from us if we carried either.”