Kate, Princess of Wales, comforts tearful Ukrainian refugee

The British royal toured the Ukrainian Community Centre in Reading

The Princess of Wales having her picture taken with five-year-old Zlata Yeromenko during a visit to the Ukrainian Community Centre in Reading. AP
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The Princess of Wales told a tearful Ukrainian refugee “I wish we could do more” as she toured a UK organisation on Thursday which offers displaced families support.

The British royal visited the Reading Ukrainian Community Centre, paying tribute to the “bravery” of the families.

She told the refugees: “You're showing a resilience, I'm overwhelmed by how strong you all are.”

Galina Bolebrukh, 39, told her how she fled Ukraine with her mother Iryne, three-year-old son Renat and a few clothes following the Russian invasion.

Placing a hand on her heart, Kate said: “I wish we could do more”.

She later told the mother, whose husband remained in Ukraine to fight the Russian invasion: “Everything you've experienced is so understandable.”

The Princess of Wales posed for pictures with Ukrainian children, including Mrs Bolebrukh's son, who sat on her lap.

The centre has been the hub of the Ukrainian community in Berkshire for years. But it now focuses much of its efforts on supporting Ukrainians arriving in the UK, and delivering medical equipment and humanitarian aid to those on the front line.

The Princess was greeted by the centre's chairman Antonio Gresko on arrival, when she received traditional Ukrainian welcome gifts of bread and salt.

She told the group that “having a charity centre like this is a lifeline”.

The future queen chatted to groups of Ukrainian families sitting at tables in the centre, home to the Berkshire branch of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, the country's largest representative body for Ukrainians and people of Ukrainian descent.

She told the women: “It's still all going on and you have loved ones and family in Ukraine, they still see the horrors of war every day.”

The Princess also joined children taking part in an art session, which encourages the youngsters to have fun, build friendships and express their emotions and experiences through a creative outlet.

She praised the children for their efforts and was left with blue and yellow paint, the national colours of Ukraine, on her hands.

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Updated: November 17, 2022, 4:03 PM