MEMBERS of Bradford’s Ukrainian community are“naturally concerned” with the potential threat of Russia invading their homeland.

Yesterday, Boris Johnson warned that “gloomy” intelligence suggested Russia was planning a lightning raid on Kyiv as British staff and their families began leaving the Ukrainian capital.

Russian forces have massed at the border with Ukraine and intense diplomatic activity has failed to ease tensions.

The Prime Minister warned President Vladimir Putin that an invasion would be a “disastrous step” which could see Russia bogged down in a bloody and protracted conflict.

Downing Street said British combat troops would not be used to defend Ukraine.

Mr Johnson said he did not believe war was inevitable and there was a chance that “sense can still prevail”.

The Bradford Ukrainian Club, on Legrams Lane, are encouraging others to join a peace rally in support of their people this Saturday (1pm) at Leeds Town Hall.

“We all feel powerless,” said club director Ewhen Chymera.

“Every day there seems to be a new drama. It almost seems inevitable that Putin is going to send in troops.

"This is an opportunity for us as a community to say we are here, Ukraine does matter to people in the UK.

“My brother is married to a girl from Sumy, which is 60km away from the boarder. They were over there at Christmas and the suggestion was they could effectively see Russian tanks from the flats in the city centre.

"Places that we have been to will be the first places the tanks will go to if the order comes.

"Friends in Kyiv are getting on with their lives but discussing the what ifs. They are making those contiguous plans that you can’t fathom in the modern world.”

One member of the club, Slawko Gumeniuk, 68, has lived in Bradford all his life after his parents moved over from Ukraine post World War Two.

He said: “Ukrainians in Bradford are naturally concerned because we have family there.

"The Ukrainian people are hard working and want to build their country and preserve their independence.

"There are no winners if Russia invade Ukraine. There is going to be bloodshed on both sides.

“My wife’s family still live in a village just outside Lviv. They told us how grim Christmas was because everyone was fearing an invasion.

"They are already gearing up for a potential war, putting in place bomb shelters and evacuation coordinates. People are fearful and anxious."

Stefan Jarockyj was born in Shipley but has relatives in Western Ukraine.

He said: “At Christmas time, I contacted one of my cousins in Lviv. They are obviously concerned about what is happening there.”