A GROUP of orphaned Ukrainian children are on their way to safety in Scotland after a charity set up by football fans helped them flee the Russian invasion.

Ian Blackford, who has been working with the Dnipro Kids charity set up by Hibernian supporters, confirmed the youngsters will be able to make the trip after plans to fly them to the UK on Monday had to be abandoned.

The charity evacuated 52 orphans – who are aged between one and 18 – and their carers from Ukraine in the wake of the Russian invasion, taking them to Poland.

Blackford – who has raised the plight of the youngsters in the House of Commons – tweeted: “I am absolutely delighted to say the flight we have arranged for the @DniproKids will soon depart for Warsaw, to collect them and their carers and bring them all safely to Scotland.

“The return flight will be later this evening and they will then travel straight to Callander.”

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions shortly after noon on Wednesday, he added: “In a matter of seconds an aircraft is due to depart Heathrow Airport to go to Warsaw to pick up 50 young orphans that have left Ukraine

“They are coming to spend the next part of their lives in Scotland with the sanctuary that we offer them.

“And I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped to ensure we can offer a new start to these young people. In particular the governments in London and Edinburgh and the immigration minister.

“This is a good day for these 50 young people but let’s hope it’s the beginning of something much more significant for more young people that we can offer sanctuary to.”

The orphans had been due to travel from Warsaw to London earlier this week, but their flight was unable to take off after a key piece of paperwork was not provided in time.

On Tuesday, Dnipro Kids chair Steven Carr said he was “over the moon” that plans were moving forward to bring the children to Scotland.

“This is a huge relief and I’m thankful to all involved in reaching this breakthrough,” he said.

“We’ve known these children and their carers for many years, and I’m looking forward to bringing them back to Scotland where they can finally get the peace and security they need.”

He added: “The assistance we’ve received from Ian Blackford, Lord Harrington, Kevin Foster, the Scottish Government and UK Government, Polish and Ukrainian authorities, Virgin Atlantic, and many others has been exceptional – and I want to place on record my thanks to them all.”

Dnipro Kids, formed by Hibs fans, is now working with Stirling Council, who will accommodate the children at a facility in Callander after they arrive in the UK.

Robert Brown from the charity said both it and Stirling Council were “committed to giving the children a wonderful time so that they can escape the trauma of what they’ve been through, and we can turn their experience into an adventure they’ll remember for the rest of their lives”.

It is expected the youngsters will spend a number of weeks in the Callander area before moving to Edinburgh.

Brown had contacted Stirling Council last week when it was confirmed the youngsters would be coming to the UK, with the charity working with the local authority to put a “a comprehensive support package” in place.

Work has been taking place with local bodies, including NHS Forth Valley and Police Scotland, along with volunteers from local businesses, to ensure a facility in Callander is ready to welcome the youngsters when they arrive.

Brown said: “The council deserve a lot of credit for this.”

Stirling Council chief executive Carol Beattie said: “Dnipro Kids approached us asking for support and our staff responded quickly to help make sure the children have what they need.

“The suffering faced by innocent families and communities is heart-breaking to witness and we are prepared to do whatever we can to help them.”

She continued: “Stirling Council has a proud history of welcoming and assisting refugees.

“We have participated in the Syrian refugee resettlement scheme since its launch in 2005 in response to the Syrian crisis and we are committed to supporting efforts to resettle Afghan nationals.

“Now we are stepping up to aid the innocent Ukrainian victims of the Russian military invasion.

“These children have shown enormous courage to flee the devastation and constant fear they were facing in their own homes to try to integrate somewhere new.

“Our first priority will be checking on the health and wellbeing of the young people, and making them feel welcome.

“After that, we have put in arrangements to ensure they are completely integrated into the community, whether that’s going to school or taking part in various activities.

“They will be warmly welcomed into Stirling’s communities where they will find support to get used to their new environment and help getting to know the country that has welcomed them.

“We stand ready to help in Stirling if there’s more we can do for the children.”

Brown, meanwhile, urged people to donate whatever money they could to help support Ukraine.

He said: “Ukrainian men are in the front line of a fight to protect our democratic way of life. We must therefore do all we can to help their wives and children wherever they are. It is going to be a very long haul, so we need to donate and donate and donate.”