Man marries Ukraine refugee he met on Facebook and wooed using Google Translate

A Brit married a Ukrainian refugee less than three months after meeting her on Facebook.

Luke Dickinson, 28, used Google Translate to communicate with Vira Klimova, 37, when they started chatting on a Facebook group set up to help Ukrainians fleeing Vladimir Putin's Russian forces.

Vira was an accountant at a law firm in Odessa but came home to find her flat destroyed when Putin first launched his "special military operation" on February 24.

READ MORE: Evil pro-Russian cops abduct Ukrainian nurse and hang her in street of occupied Kherson

She fled with her daughter Karina, 15, and just a handful of belongings, eventually ending up in Bristol where a Moldovan friend lives.

It was on her travels across Europe when she got talking to Luke, who had logged onto the Facebook group to see if he could help people in Vira's situation.

Shopfitter Luke, from Bristol, explained: "When we got chatting Vira was already sorted and had her documents ready.

"But I'd seen her photo and I was like 'Ooh hello!' So I sent her a private message.

"We had laughs and jokes, the sense of humour was perfect. Everyone always says no-one understands the English sense of humour, but she does.

"We used Google Translate on every single message as she didn't understand any English. I really liked her, so it didn't matter."

Vira and Karina arrived in Bristol on April 6, with her friend agreeing to home and sponsor her.

She immediately started English lessons and the process of converting her Ukrainian accountancy qualifications so she can work in the UK.

A nervous Luke invited her round on July 3. He said: "I asked her if she fancied a drink in my hot tub as our first date.

"At this point I was thinking I fancied her but we'd see what happened, and whether anything developed.

"We'd be trying to have a conversation, it was all in English, and if she didn't understand something I'd just get Google Translate out.

"If she didn't know how to say something she'd do the same.

"It was a really strong initial attraction, for her as well. She stayed the night and I was late going in the next day."

The pair continued dating, with Luke admitting he knew he wanted to marry her "after two weeks".

He decided to pop the question as the pair enjoyed a steak dinner during a visit to London on August 23 – and Vira didn't hesitate saying yes.

They had their nuptials at Bristol Register Office on September 30 followed by a cocktail bar reception, with Vira giving a speech in both English and Ukrainian.

Luke is now also learning his new wife's first language.

Although they are getting on like a house on fire, there have been lows with Vira losing friends to Putin's illegal war.

One of her three sisters is still living in a village occupied by the Russian invaders.

"She just feels lucky to be safe," Luke said.

"Her friends are saying it's hell over there – or worse."

Vira said: "I can't believe how lucky I am coming from a war and having to leave my home and ending up finding the one man for me.

"We both knew straight away we are meant to be."

Luke and Vira are also hoping to have a second wedding in Ukraine when the war is over, and say they no longer have to rely on Google Translate.

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