Now the teenager and her mother Ludmila, whose house was destroyed in a rocket attack earlier in the war, are living in a student residence in Germany in Limbo – and could soon be sent to a refugee camp in France – after waiting almost two months for one Visa to live in Scotland.
The family had teamed up with Fife resident Alex Black as part of the Homes for Ukraine scheme, who had planned to open their home to them – and offer Ms Haru work in her family’s campervan hire business.
However, although the family applied for the program as soon as possible in mid-March, they have still not received a response from the Ministry of the Interior and are living in temporary accommodation in a dormitory in Germany after fleeing Ukraine ten weeks ago. Mrs. Harus’ husband remains in the war-torn country, where he works as an ambulance driver.
The two did not apply for a residence permit in Germany because they wanted to travel to Scotland – and are only allowed to stay in the country for two more weeks. They have been told that in a few days they will be taken to a refugee camp in France run by the Red Cross.
Ms Black has been told by local politicians that they are investigating the case and the family’s visa is “under consideration” but is concerned the application has been misplaced. She has contacted Refugee Secretary Neil Gray four times but has received no response.
Ms Black says: “Yesterday I was talking to someone about this and I just found myself in tears because this is someone else’s life, this is not a game. I’m just at my wits end. I don’t know what to do. I’m talking to other people who got their guest’s application approved in 10 days.
“Violet texts me every day and I feel terribly responsible. I feel like I let her down, even though I know it has absolutely nothing to do with me. They could be placed elsewhere if we hadn’t done that.”
Ukraine-Russia: One in 20 Ukrainian refugees who fled the war to Britain lives in Scotland
Ms. Black signed up for the hosting program on opening day and prepared everything for her guests, including a place at school for Violet and a job for her mother, who worked as a massage therapist in Ukraine. She has also started a local networking group for Ukrainian arrivals near where she lives in Balmullo, near St Andrews.
“The school keeps asking me, ‘What’s up, when are you coming?'” she says.
“Violet missed a school year where she could have met people her own age. If they come now, it’s exam time and she won’t have that chance for a while.
“I started the networking group ages ago thinking I would be the first [in the area to host someone] and now I’m pretty much the only person whose guests haven’t arrived. It just doesn’t make sense. If there is something wrong with the application, if we have filled something out wrong, then you should just tell us. They’ve been thinking about it for almost six weeks now and to be honest I think they’ve lost it.”
The Harus family has been working hard to maintain some sort of normality since leaving Ukraine. They first fled to Poland and were taken to a gym in northern Germany before being transferred to the youth hostel in Bavaria.
Ms Black says: “Violet’s school somehow managed to maintain some sort of online teaching, so she managed. She took her saxophone with her as she goes to a specialized music academy in Kharkiv, and saxophone and piano are her instruments. She’s obviously quite an accomplished young girl.”
Although Violet speaks some English, her mum doesn’t – and Ms Black has arranged for a friend of hers, an English teacher living in France, to give her lessons via Zoom.
She says: “Ludmila takes classes with my girlfriend via Zoom three times a week and they really work. The last time I was in touch with them, Ludmila actually spoke to me in English, which was amazing.”
Mrs. Harus says that she and her daughter are provided with food in the dormitory.
She says: “I study English in my spare time, but we live in a dorm. We are not registered [in Germany] because we are waiting for a visa [for Scotland]. The stay time in Europe from our arrival on March 6th is coming to an end, it is very stressful.”
Violet says she’s been able to work with a local music school to use a practice room for her saxophone, which she finds therapeutic – but she’s keen to resume her studies in Scotland as soon as possible.
She says: “They provided a free classroom where I play the saxophone. I also study online at my school in Kharkiv. I like music since childhood, so in the future I want to combine my life with my creativity. Now I am distracted from all the problems with the help of the music.”
Both the Scottish Government and the Home Office have been asked for comments.
Details of the case have emerged as UK government figures show that more than 50,000 refugees have arrived in the UK under Ukraine’s visa regime.
Data shows that as of Monday, around 53,800 Ukrainian refugees have arrived under the Homes for Ukraine family and sponsorship program.
About 107,400 visas were issued under both programs, meaning just over half of those with visas issued have arrived.