Ukraine

Ukraine: Army veteran delivers aid into war zone

The Scot met Ukrainian soldiers in the wartorn country as helicopters flew overhead.

A British Army veteran has delivered a lorry load of essential aid into war-torn Ukraine.

Jake Porter, who served 24 years in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), arrived with other volunteers after travelling across Europe.

He said the aid delivery contained warm clothing for adults and children, food, medicines and unwanted first aid kits, adding they had "everything" people displaced by the war may need to survive. 

Unlike many volunteers who have crossed the continent with consignments of aid, Mr Porter delivered his relief load directly into Ukraine, risking danger by crossing into a war zone. 

Currently, the UK Government's foreign travel advice for Ukraine warns that there is a "real risk to life," advising British nationals not to travel there and to "leave the country immediately". 

The veteran said that once he was into Ukraine, there were "a lot more soldiers about."

He said: "We have seen a helicopter flying about earlier on. The soldiers seem friendly enough.

"I've talked to them. I've even managed to scrounge a badge off them.

"They seem to be happy enough, or as happy as they could be, I suppose. But there again, they're on the west border, not the east," he added.

Asked why he had volunteered to participate in the aid effort, risking his own safety as he entered Ukraine, Mr Porter was honest about feeling a sense of satisfaction, but says: "I don't do it for that."

The ex-REME vehicle mechanic recalls an incident from a couple of years back while volunteering in Hungary, when he met children in a kindergarten who sang to him and the other British visitors.

That was part of the reason he felt compelled to help the Ukrainians, he said.

"That made the hairs on your neck stand up."