Anastasia Lypynska, a Ukrainian citizen is co-ordinating humanitarian supplies and helping to evacuate her family and friends living in Kyiv with the help of Councillor David Eggleton.
Anastasia met her British husband Michael in Kyiv when he was working for Barclays there 8 years ago. She moved to Nettlebed with her children Isaac (6) and Isabel (5) last April from her husband’s posting in India to make the UK their home and for their children to start school here.
On the 24 February, Anastasia received a phone call from her mother in Kyiv saying that they had been woken up at 4am to a very loud explosion. Anastasia said, “I managed to rescue my mother and sister on the third day to get them a visa to cross the border into Poland. The rest of my family (grandmother, father, cousins) and many of my best friends are still there. I worry that my 85 year old grandmother will get hurt and that she has enough food stock – it’s very difficult to find food with a long expiry date on.”
“I have started to arrange pick-up for other people when they are ready to go and I guide them on every step. Once they are across the border I arrange with friends for them to get accommodation. My heart bleeds for each and every Ukrainian.”
The main priorities for Anastasia are to help move families with kids to a safer place, finding and delivering medicines and food for those in need (particularly the ill, elderly and disabled people) and funding the supply of defence equipment as the civilians and territorial army are fighting bare.
“Innocent people are being targeted by the Russian army. It is not an accident that they are bombing houses and killing civilians. Ukrainians are hiding in their basements from bombs. Many are without water and electricity. Women have been raped in hospital and innocent civilians have been shot in their cars. Children are being seriously hurt by toy butterflies being flown into Kindergarten playgrounds that have explosives inside them. The Russians are circling Kyiv, they are trying to cut Kyiv from all humanitarian help. They want us to surrender,” added Anastasia.
The last 11 days has taken its toll on Anastasia’s health. She has lost 5kg in weight and has found sleeping very difficult. She explains, “I think I’m having a mental breakdown. I have huge anxiety. I can’t sleep if I know someone’s life is danger. My whole body aches.” Looking at the messages, social media, videos is very distressing but I just want to help.”
The donations received at the collection points David set up last week has been fantastic. Anastasia said, “I am proud and blessed to feel connected to the UK and the wonderful support and kind hearts of the people in Henley who have rushed to help Ukraine people survive. I am blessed that school friends have helped support me personally by helping to take our children to school and picking up them afterwards and taking them for a play date. If you know other UK Ukrainians, please offer them support in ways like this. It makes all the difference to me.”
Anastasia is co-ordinating logistics with her cousin, Alexander who is working with a voluntary agency in Kyiv to strategically organise the humanitarian supplies directly from Henley to Kyiv.
The items that are desperately needed are night vision drones and night vision binoculars, thermal underwear large size, thermal socks, sleeping bags, men’s underwear, warm gloves, men’s boots big sizes (44, 45, 46), medicines, insulated foam sleeping mats and thermal seating mats. All these items can be dropped off at Henley Town Hall and Swiss Farm this week. CLOTHES ARE NO LONGER NEEDED AND SHOULD NOT BE DONATED.
Warning: The video below contains a distressing scene of civilians being shot in their car which has been forwarded to Anastasia.