THE father of missing Russian student Yulia Solodyankina has said her whole family are praying for her safe return.
Dmitry Solodyankin had expected to be meeting his daughter on his first ever trip to the Capital – but instead has found himself speaking to police as they try to track down the missing student.
And he revealed the last time he spoke to her the pair had talked about his visit.
Yulia, 22, was last seen leaving The Wee Red Bar at Edinburgh College of Art on Thursday June 6 at around 9pm. She sent routine messages over Facebook and by text message at around 2pm on the Friday but has not been heard from since.
Her phone and laptop were both found in her flat on South Clerk Street, which she shares with two friends.
Her father had arranged with his daughter to come over from Russia for a visit and was due to meet her in Waverley Station last Thursday, but is instead aiding the search for her.
He said: “The last time her mother and I spoke to her was on the evening of Wednesday June 5. She said that she felt a little bit ill and asked her mother what to do in case of a strong cough. Then we discussed my visit, clearing up the details. She promised to meet me in Waverley Station on Thursday June 13, because it was my first visit to Edinburgh.”
Yulia’s mother, who is still in Moscow and will be arriving here next week, would come to Edinburgh twice a year to visit her only child, who has been living in the Capital for four years and studying physics at the University of Edinburgh.
Dmitry said: “Last time she visited Edinburgh was between April 10-14. Yulia and her mother had a lovely car trip to the Isle of Skye. Yulia is our only child. Her mother cannot believe what’s happened. She is in Moscow now and is not able to speak to anybody. She is planning to come to Edinburgh next week.
“Yulia has a big family in Russia – grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, many friends. All the family and friends are now praying for her.”
It is understood that Yulia had received disappointing exam results before she went missing, leading some to question whether she may have simply decided to take some time away. However, those who know her say this is “very unlikely.”
Yulia’s boyfriend of six months, Antoine Dao, 21, said: “Obviously the only thing that matters is that Yulia is safe, that’s what’s important to all of us. But our whole attitude is that it is very unlikely Yulia would have gone off somewhere without telling at least one person, especially with her father due to come over.”
Yulia, who speaks fluent English with a strong Russian accent, is of medium build with long dark brown hair. She is about 5ft 6in in height and has a small mole on her left cheek. Her ears are pierced and she wears a number of rings on her fingers, in particular a distinctive thumb ring which is shaped like a small spoon.
A Twitter campaign has been launched to aid the search for the missing student, with tweets from @findYulia and the hashtag #findYulia.
Anyone with any information should contact Police Scotland on 101 or the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.