Convoy of Ambulances for Ukraine
Following a successful appeal for donations, Paul Liczbinski, an army veteran of 29 years service and known as the Quartermaster for the Ukrainian Army in Donbas, took a convoy of four vehicles, packed with supplies, and to be used as ambulances, to the Ukrainian border. Paul realised that there was a dire need for ambulances on the front line and so with support from Henley locals, Dave Eggleton and Liz Ledaca, he organised the trip.
With connections in the military, Paul explained that his contact in Ukraine, Roman, once a corporate lawyer before the war started, told him that one of their ambulances had been blown up and that they were struggling, even transporting casualties on the crossbar of a bicycle. They also desperately need medical supplies as well as sleeping bags, tents, stoves, and many other items.
Initially, Paul hoped to take six vehicles to Ukraine, but with the help and generous donation from a local sponsor, they had five vehicles, all Toyota Rally 4s, kindly given to them. They also collected many supplies including radios, collapsible stretchers, defibrillators, surgical kits, trauma kits, tourniquets, chest seals and pain killers. Local pharmacies were very generous with their donations, even supplying diabetic kits because, due to lack of minerals and good nutrition, those fighting were beginning to suffer with diabetes. They even got together a team of people after Reading festival to pick up the tents and sleeping bags left behind and collected 300 tents and 120 sleeping bags, along with much needed sleeping mats and stoves.
The journey, with the five completely packed, vehicles started from Dover and took them through Germany. Unfortunately, in Dresden there was a problem with one of the vehicles and it blew up. Due to German law, you cannot tow vehicles on the autobahn and so they faced a big problem, and there was also twenty miles of roadworks to get past. But they had to find a garage and Paul explained that throughout the trip they found people wanted to support them, with the vehicles displaying Ukrainian signature plates and they themselves wearing army t-shirts with Ukrainian insignia, and a worker from the roadworks asked them if they needed help and cleared the road for the twenty miles of roadworks to allow them through to the next junction in order to find a garage. Unfortunately, there was not time to fix the vehicle and they had to leave it in Dresden and continue the journey with four ambulances.
Arriving safely in Krakow, they met with their contacts and gave the ambulances and supplies to them to cross the border into Ukraine, before getting a train to Warsaw and flying back to the UK. Paul said the trip was “horrendous”. They had only four and a half days to make it to Ukrainian border and it was hard, but people along the way were so kind, offering free food and drink to support them. It was dangerous too; they had to turn their phones off near the border because the Russians were monitoring networks and communication like WhatsApp, plus there was a lot of suspicious activity along the border and it was difficult to know who to trust.
Although the trip was hard Paul said, “We helped 400 people” and added, “It made me feel good about the human race.” He described how the contacts were overwhelmed with the supplies they received and couldn’t believe it.
The war in Ukraine is ongoing and people are still fighting and civilians suffering and therefore Paul wants to continue to help in everyway possible. Currently, he is collecting generators, cabling and lighting and is planning to send over all the tents and sleeping bags he collected. There is a truck that leaves for Ukraine every month and there is an ongoing need for medical supplies, sleeping bags, and even vehicles. If anyone can make any donations, please contact Paul by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The picture below shows the army equipment donations made in Henley to David Eggleton arriving in Ukraine from resident Andrew Tinsley.
Leave a CommentWant to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!