A mother desperate to save her daughter from war-torn Ukraine was allowed to walk out of court today on “reasons of humanity” following a landmark court ruling.
Olga Khomenko, 34, who pleaded guilty to bringing her daughter from the UK without consent, wept as the extraordinary two-year suspended sentence was read out loud.
This means the doctor can now embark on a dangerous mission to reach her daughter and elderly mother from the Kyiv region – where they are currently sheltering from Putin’s artillery fire.
Opening Judge Michael Kay said, “This is a very unusual judgment exercise, I would be surprised if it had ever happened before.”
Speaking at St Albans Crown Court, he added: “In this extraordinary case confronting the court, there is a mother in this country and her daughter in Ukraine.
“I cannot begin to understand what is happening on the ground in the Kyiv region.
“It is a desperate situation where only desperate measures can be taken.
“I have never seen a conviction involving the rescue of a child in a foreign country.
“It’s a decision I would be amazed if a court had ever made before. These are extraordinary times.
“The criminal justice system must have simple humanity.
“I am guided by such simple humanity that the only appropriate sentence is two years suspended for two years.”
When Putin began his invasion, Olga appealed to the court to have her passport returned and was granted 72-hour bail last week to try to save her child.
After unfortunately not reaching them in time, Olga returned to the UK to plead guilty and ask the courts to allow her to return to Ukraine.
She asked to be allowed to resume her mission despite a likely prison sentence.
The court heard how the relationship between Olga and her ex-husband Vuri Yasylkivskyy, also a Ukrainian citizen, broke up shortly after the birth of their daughter.
Olga brought her daughter to Ukraine in February 2017 without Mr. Yasylkivskyy’s consent, where she has remained ever since.
Olga was arrested on a European Arrest Warrant in 2019 when she landed in Paris on her way to a medical congress in Chile and was deported to the UK to await trial.
Stephen Vullo QC’s defender said: “I will ask your honor to render a merciful judgement. Merciful not only to Miss Khomenko, but also to her daughter.
“This is Article 2 of the daughter’s right, her right to life.
“It’s in a war zone in Kyiv, within earshot of raining missiles.
“Your Honor videos have been sent out and you have video of your daughter asking for her mother to come and it’s heartbreaking but you can hear the bombs.
“It would be important that her mother is at least on the borderline. If a safe corridor then opens, it could facilitate an escape.
“But when Ms. Khomenko went to the border last week, she was confident that she will find someone at the border who will return to Kyiv.
“She’s hoping she can find a way east into the county.
“There is a war in Ukraine and Miss Khomenko is the only one who can take the daughter out of the country.”
Sentenced to two years suspended sentence, Olga makes her way to Gatwick Airport to travel to Poland.
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/17921753/rescue-mission-ukraine-daughter-extraordinary-brit-judge/ I can embark on a dangerous rescue mission to Ukraine to save my little girl after an ‘extraordinary’ British judge set me free