Ukraine: Yorkshire's aid efforts overwhelming as first convoys get ready to leave for Poland border

Aid organisers and members of the Ukrainian community in West Yorkshire say they have been overwhelmed by public donations for convoys set to head towards the Ukrainian border.

The first convoy from Halifax is due to leave for Poland tomorrow after hundreds of people donated food and medical hygiene supplies for refugees who have fled the war-torn country.

The convoy has been organised by the town’s Ukrainian Club and recycling group Leo who are providing the transport.

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Danny Sawrij, director of Leo, said: “It is heartbreaking to see on a daily basis; and we all have to do whatever we can to help them.

The first convoy from Halifax is due to leave for Poland tomorrow after hundreds of people donated food and medical hygiene supplies for refugees who have fled the war-torn country following protests across the country.

“I have been overwhelmed by all the volunteers and donations pouring in over the last two days, and we have our first container leaving shortly.

“We have started the momentum and we now have to carry it on for the coming days, months and years and keep going at it until Putin leaves the country.”

Ivan Kuzio, inset, of Halifax Ukrainian Club, said: “The response from all sections and groups within Calderdale and the UK has been amazing.

Ukraine as everyone sees is fighting not just for itself but for peace and democracy in Europe.”

Some 3,000 bars of soap in the Ukrainian colours of blue and yellow form part of the aid convoy, after commercial production was stopped at the Yorkshire Soap Company to create the hygiene products.

The club had to put a temporary stop on donations after being inundated with cars queuing up to hand goods over at Swalesmoor Road, but medical supplies are still needed.

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Director Marcus Doyle said: “We’ve had all the team in the kitchen chopping the soap and getting it boxed up.

“People know us for all our novelty soaps – but this is very practical. The last thing you want is any disease in those places.

“All we’ve wanted to do is help. If it keeps people healthy and safe, it’ll work.”

Stefan Gvozdenko, 71, a second generation Ukrainian immigrant, donated swathes of bandages for the convoy and called the response “phenomenal.”

He said: “I’m grateful that my parents aren’t alive to be quite honest – because I would hate to see them looking at this scene.

“It would have broken their hearts.

“But it’s mind boggling, the response from the community. The cars that are queuing up to drop off medication, toiletries and things for basic needs.

“There’s going to be a shortage of medical aid, and medication will be needed for the soldiers who have been wounded and dying, as well as civilians.”