Judge Rinder details finding Strictly partner's disabled grandparents

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Judge Robert Rinder has spoken of his experience on the border in Ukraine when he found his Strictly partner Oskana Platero’s disabled grandparents.

The TV judge, 43, journeyed to the border of war-torn Ukraine when he heard that Oskana’s relatives had to flee their home following the Russain invasion.

Rob appeared on Friday’s Lorraine to dicuss the experience, where he revealed the elderly couple were forced to escape without their wheelchairs or medication.

Experience: Judge Robert Rinder has spoken of his experience on the border in Ukraine when he found his Strictly partner Oskana Platero's disabled grandparents

Experience: Judge Robert Rinder has spoken of his experience on the border in Ukraine when he found his Strictly partner Oskana Platero’s disabled grandparents

He said: ‘Her grandfather has Parkinson’s and her grandmother wasn’t able to get out of bed. Disabled people have had to escape with nothing that they need, no wheelchair or medication.’

Rob continued: ‘They had nothing when we arrived really, except each other, we gave them what we could – a wheelchair, they gave us tea. They said despite having nothing, they were grateful to us and the British public for absolutely everything.’

Sharing an insight into their experience, Rob said: ‘They are 85 and 95, they took a week to get over the border. They went through a trauma of being able to cross the border.’

Emotional: The TV judge, 43, journeyed to the border of war-torn Ukraine when he heard that Oskana's relatives had to flee their home following the Russain invasion

Emotional: The TV judge, 43, journeyed to the border of war-torn Ukraine when he heard that Oskana’s relatives had to flee their home following the Russain invasion

‘That’s the thing about what matters most, what this crisis brings home is hold your family close, hold democracy close. How great we can be at our very best.’

Rob also touched on his friendship with Oskana, who he said was ‘desperately worried’ about her grandparents when he first spoke to her following the outbreak of the war. 

He told Lorraine Kelly: ‘It was such a priviledge to be able to give her something back. I think people watch strictly and think it’s a load of hoo-hah when people say we’ll be friends forever, it’s telly! 

‘But we really did become close. As soon as I saw what was happening in Ukraine, I got in touch and she was desperately worried about her grandparents.’

Candid: Rob appeared on Friday's Lorraine to dicuss the experience, where he revealed the elderly couple were forced to escape without their wheelchairs or medication

Candid: Rob appeared on Friday’s Lorraine to dicuss the experience, where he revealed the elderly couple were forced to escape without their wheelchairs or medication

Discussing his week on the border more generally, Rob said: ‘it’s overwhelming, everyone I know that has been at the border and at the train stations there, it’s really hard to communicate that as a safe Western city, unless you’re standing there. 

‘But it doesn’t feel any different from Britain, it’s a first world country. Surrounded by the vestiture’s of a liberal city. Four weeks ago people were sitting happily in bars and clubs, taking completely for granted that they were safe forever.

‘I was standing at this modern train station, it looked like the Pedalino line, not that much different than standing at Euston. In and out of Ukraine, where a week ago people would commute. There was this sea of humanity and by humanity we talk about women and kids. At the border people walking with just the clothes on their backs.’ 

‘But I saw, the British people, the spirit of Dunkirkery at that border, within hours. There was a big table, set up by the Sikh community giving out food.’

Sharing an insight into their experience, Rob said:'They are 85 and 95, they took a week to get over the border. They went through a trauma of being able to cross the border' (pictured with Oskana's aunt)

Sharing an insight into their experience, Rob said: ‘They are 85 and 95, they took a week to get over the border. They went through a trauma of being able to cross the border’ (pictured with Oskana’s aunt)

‘British ex-servicemen who had driven 30 hours with equipment, ambulance drivers on their day off, policemen at the border giving out toys and whatever people needed.

‘There was so much human decency there and at the reception centre. Also British charities giving out whatever aid they could. It represented the greatest of humanity.

‘There’s a sense of lighting a candle in the dark and it illuminates everything. There’s so much light there. Every other reporter, despite all of the horror that we are. That get’s to stand on that border will tell you the same thing. Of course you come away with the crushing feeling that we need to do more.’

Urging the British government to do more, Rob said: ‘Governments need to get the administrative stuff in place. But they also come away with the sense that confronted by horror, humankind will step up now. Especially the British will do their best to help.’

Rob continued:'They had nothing when we arrived really, except each other, we gave them what we could - a wheelchair, they gave us tea'

Rob continued: ‘They had nothing when we arrived really, except each other, we gave them what we could – a wheelchair, they gave us tea’

Rob related the experience to his Jewish grandparents, who were on a Kindertransport from Germany during the Blitz.

He said: ‘My grandfather had no safety he came here after the war, his family were killed. Just before the war there were kinder transports out of Germany and in this country we provided trains out of the Blitz. 

‘Which both of my grandparents were recipients of. As you’ve described, that is evocative of that.’ 

‘When we think about why we feel safe, lots of it is because of things around us. You realise how fragile that is when you stand there.’ 

Earlier this week, Oksana thanked her Strictly partner after he finally found her family in Ukraine after a week-long search.

He said:'Her grandfather has Parkinson's and her grandmother wasn't able to get out of bed. Disabled people have had to escape with nothing that they need, no wheelchair or medication'

He said: ‘Her grandfather has Parkinson’s and her grandmother wasn’t able to get out of bed. Disabled people have had to escape with nothing that they need, no wheelchair or medication’

The criminal barrister has been reporting from the front line and told last week how he was heading to the war-torn country in search of his former dance partner’s family members.

The TV star has been documenting his trip to the Poland/Ukraine border where he has met many other refugees – he has not yet given details about how he tracked Oksana’s family members down.

Rob told Talk Radio that Oksana’s grandparents and aunt are currently staying in ‘one small room’ in a ‘chalet bungalow’ in Tuchow, Poland. He said her uncle and cousin are on their way to join them.

Sharing snaps hugging the two women, Rinder wrote in the caption: ‘Oksana’s family: Auntie Lidya and Grandma Zoya.

‘We managed to reach them this morning with a wheelchair & some medical supplies.

‘Despite having nearly nothing.. they are ‘grateful for everything’.’

Oksana’s auntie looked visibly emotional in the snap as he hugged auntie Lidya and kissed her on the forehead.  

Helping: He wrote in the caption:'We managed to reach them this morning with a wheelchair & some medical supplies...'

Helping: He wrote in the caption: ‘We managed to reach them this morning with a wheelchair & some medical supplies…’

In the second snap he hugged her grandma Zoya – who isn’t able to walk without a wheelchair – as she sat in bed covered by blankets. 

Professional dancer Oksana, who has not been able to make the journey herself because she has work commitments in America, took to Instagram on Wednesday to thank Rob.

In a heartfelt caption, she wrote: ‘I can’t say thank you enough to my wonderful SCD partner @robrinder and his team for being there for my family and so many others. 

‘You are a truly remarkable man and my love for you is limitless. The world needs more people like you.’ 

Speaking to Talk Radio, Rob said Oksana’s family are hopeful that they will be able to return to their home in Ukraine, as he described their journey to Poland.

'You are a truly remarkable man': Oksana, who has not been able to make the journey herself because of work commitments in America, took to Instagram on Wednesday to thank Rob

‘You are a truly remarkable man’: Oksana, who has not been able to make the journey herself because of work commitments in America, took to Instagram on Wednesday to thank Rob

In another post, Rob revealed Oskana's family also had their puppy Tesla with them, as he shared a snap of the dog and wrote:'He brings us so much love that we forget the bad things'

In another post, Rob revealed Oskana’s family also had their puppy Tesla with them, as he shared a snap of the dog and wrote: ‘He brings us so much love that we forget the bad things’

He added: ‘It really drives into sharp focus what happens when you need to leave your home suddenly, you’re left without a wheelchair, without the basic needs, you know the basic things that are required for people’s human dignity – going to the loo and so and so forth – and things you need if you are disabled.

‘All of that had to be left, as they journey for seven days, sometimes without water, fleeing shelling to arrive here.’ 

In another post, Robert revealed Oskana’s family also had their puppy Tesla with them, as he shared a snap of the dog and wrote: ‘He brings us so much love that we forget the bad things’. 

On Instagram, Robert shared another heartwarming picture of him hugging a woman and said the ‘women of Ukraine’ were ‘safeguarding’ their nation.

Sweet: On Instagram, Robert shared another heartwarming picture of him hugging a woman and said the'women of Ukraine' were'safeguarding' their nation

Sweet: On Instagram, Robert shared another heartwarming picture of him hugging a woman and said the ‘women of Ukraine’ were ‘safeguarding’ their nation

He wrote: ‘Tonight is Purim, the story of Queen Esther, a Jewish Queen who learned that Haman (the king’s adviser) was planning to destroy the Jewish people. 

‘Esther revealed the plot & saved her people. Thousands of years on, the women of Ukraine are safeguarding the future of their nation.’

Robert and Oksana reached the quarter-final stage of Strictly, when they competed together in 2016. 

And announcing he was going to the Ukraine last week, Rob said: ‘Oksana Platero my Ukrainian dance partner on @bbcstrictly gifted me so much.

‘Right now her grandparents are a week into their struggle to find sanctuary in a safe country. 

Dynamic duo: Robert and Oksana reached the quarter-final stage of Strictly, when they competed together in 2016

Dynamic duo: Robert and Oksana reached the quarter-final stage of Strictly, when they competed together in 2016

Hope: Rob said Oksana's family are hopeful that they will be able to return to their home in Ukraine. Pictured: Oksana with her mother and younger brother

Hope: Rob said Oksana’s family are hopeful that they will be able to return to their home in Ukraine. Pictured: Oksana with her mother and younger brother

‘I’ll be trying to meet them on the border next week. They’re just a few of the millions who need us.’ 

Robert added at the time that it was unclear where he could meet Oksana’s grandparents, but he was hoping to meet them somewhere on Ukraine’s border with Poland. 

He added: ‘Depends on where they make it to but I’ll be at the Polish border from Monday.

‘If they cross into Hungary the next step will be getting them to safety with their family.’

Robert and Oksana reached the quarter-final stage of Strictly, when they competed together in 2016.

Family: Robert announced that he was going to the Ukraine last week. Pictured: Oksana with her family member Rosita

Family: Robert announced that he was going to the Ukraine last week. Pictured: Oksana with her family member Rosita

Worrying: In a series of tweets last week Robert explained he was travelling to Ukraine's border with Poland to hopefully meet Oksana's grandparents

Worrying: In a series of tweets last week Robert explained he was travelling to Ukraine’s border with Poland to hopefully meet Oksana’s grandparents

The dancer herself also took to Instagram last Wednesday pleading for help from her followers, and explaining how her family fled their hometown last week to reach safety. 

She wrote: ‘Dear Friends, as you already know, many families are going through such hardship with the war in Ukraine. My family and my cousins, @kateryna_klishyna, family are escaping and close to the border. 

‘My mother, my 10 year old brother, and Kateryna’s sister, left their home the morning of March 2nd and arrived to safety March 6th. 

‘As you can imagine, the journey there was brutal but all that matters is that they made it, and they are safe. We are forever grateful to still have them as we know so many who can’t say the same. 

‘The rest of our family which include our 3 grandparents, 2 who are not able to walk, and Kateryna’s mom and dad are still in danger as they are currently still trying to escape. We are praying that they will make it out of Ukraine and into safety soon. 

‘What’s next is unclear, unpredictable, and terrifying. This is where we’d like to ask for any support as they spend their time away from home. 

Worrying: The dancer herself also took to Instagram last Wednesday pleading for help from her followers, and explaining how her family fled their hometown last week to reach safety

Worrying: The dancer herself also took to Instagram last Wednesday pleading for help from her followers, and explaining how her family fled their hometown last week to reach safety

Help: Posting a series of snaps of her family (left: her auntie Lidya and grandma Zoya), she wrote:'What's next is unclear, unpredictable, and terrifying'

Help: Posting a series of snaps of her family (left: her auntie Lidya and grandma Zoya), she wrote: ‘What’s next is unclear, unpredictable, and terrifying’

‘They will be in need of accommodations, food, and medical attention for quite some time. We are raising money to send to them and keep them in good hands. Anything you can do to help would be much appreciated.

‘From the bottom our our hearts we thank you and please keep our family and the rest of Ukraine in your thoughts and prayers. Oksana and Kateryna.’

It’s thought around two million Ukranian citizens have now fled their country in the wake of the Russian invasion, but the Government has come under fire for handing out just 500 visas to refugees.

Scary: He had headed to Ukraine where millions have had to flee their homes due to the conflict

Scary: He had headed to Ukraine where millions have had to flee their homes due to the conflict

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