Robert Rinder flys to Europe in search of Strictly Come Dancing partner Oksana Platero’s relatives, as she was stuck in the US
On Wednesday (16 March), Rinder revealed he and his fixers had found Platero’s grandparents and aunt in south-east Poland after they crossed the Ukrainian border, sharing photographs of himself with them.
“Oksana’s family: Auntie Lidya and Grandma Zoya,” tweeted Rinder. “We managed to reach them this morning with a wheelchair and some medical supplies. Despite having nearly nothing.. they are ‘grateful for everything.”
Platero, who danced alongside the TV judge in 2016, wrote on Instagram that Rinder is a “truly remarkable man”. “I can’t thank you enough to my wonder [Strictly Come Dancing] partner Rob Rinder and his team for being there for my family and so many others,” she wrote. “You are a truly remarkable man, and my love for you is limitless.”
Judge Rinder says Strictly star’s family fled Ukraine ‘without basic things’
Robert Rinder and Oksana Platero forged a strong friendship during their time on the popular show Strictly Come Dancing. On 9 March, Rinder announced the Ukrainian dancer’s family were “a week into their struggle to find sanctuary in a safe country”. He said he would be “trying to meet them on the border next week”.
Across his travels, he has reported for talkRadio about the plight displaced people have faced amid the Russian war on Ukraine. “[Platero’s family have] welcomed us with loving arms to this tiny place that they’ve found shelter in,” Rinder told talkRadio from a chalet in Tuchow.
“There are her two grandparents in one small room, Zoya and Vasiliy. Vasiliy has Parkinson’s – he’s barely able to get out of bed. Zoya greeted us all like a loving grandmother.”
Rob says he was “greeted like long lost family” and managed to help provide Oksana’s family with “basic medical supplies.”
He added: “It really drives into sharp focus what happens when you need to leave your home suddenly. “They left without a wheelchair, without basic things required for people’s human dignity that you need if you’re disabled. “They journeyed for seven days, sometimes without water, fleeing shelling to arrive here.”
Around three million people have escaped Ukraine since Russia declared war last month, according to the United Nations’ refugee agency. The majority have gone to Poland, at least 1.8 million, which matches the population of Poland’s capital Warsaw.
Rinder praised Platero’s family for being “resolute” in the face of brutality and bloodshed caused by Russian forces in Ukraine. “They are going to stay here until they can go back to Ukraine,” he explained, “which they say they hope is very, very soon.”